“Mad Men” Reflects Modern Life in China

As more Hollywood firms look to Asian themes or partnerships in filmmaking due to China’s rise, Chinese audiences are becoming a growing factor in the distribution of films. With the deal between Disney and YOU on Demand, television has become another arena of media distribution. The television industry has benefited from the growing exposure of American television sitcoms in China through the internet. According to the Los Angeles times, the hit-drama “Mad Men” seems to resonate with the young Chinese professionals living in a country that is undergoing major changes:
Like “Mad Men’s” characters, young white-collar workers in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are often imbued with an alluring sense of living in a nation on the rise, even as they grapple with rapid and disorienting social, cultural and economic change.
“Mad Men” is licensed by Lionsgate for viewing on the portal http://www.sohu.com with Chinese subtitles and is available on some Air China international flights. It is one of scores of American shows benefiting from the increasing popularity and legitimacy of Internet TV, which offers spicier fare than China’s bland state-run channels and gives busy professionals the convenience of when-you-want it viewing in a nation largely devoid of on-demand programming, DVRs or TiVos.
To be sure, “Mad Men” seems unlikely to ever notch the popularity of American crime shows like “Prison Break” or “CSI,” which attract tens of millions of viewers here. And it’s far less of a phenomenon than “Friends,” which spawned a series of books with scripts from each season translated into Mandarin. (Beijing even boasts a Friends Café, modeled after the Central Perk coffee shop on the series.)
Although Chinese businesses remain strongly male dominated — in the World Economic Forum’s 2011 Gender Gap report, China ranked 61, way behind the U.S. (17) and Iceland (1)

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