Anime Fandom in Convergence Culture: A Uses and Gratification Approach to Chinese Fan Producers
Yi, Erika Junhui
University of Kansas
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In the current media environment known as media convergence, technology has provided fans multiple tools and platforms through which to create and publish their fan works online as well as to draw on fan works and connect with other fans. Anime fans in China have taken advantage of these sophisticated technologies to generate and circulate anime and its related fan products. Due to State control over mainstream media in China, Chinese anime fans have assumed a more active and important role in the distribution of these media contents, making active Chinese anime fan producers an interesting case to examine how media convergence influences fans’ activities and how fans use technologies to satisfy their needs for media consumption. Using Uses and Gratification theory, this project explored the gratifications Chinese anime fan producers reported during their fan production process. This study focused on exploring the connections between the affordances emerging from media convergence and media gratifications reported by fan producers, reflecting both gratifications identified in the literature and newly-identified gratifications. In addition, the project addressed the shifting relationships among fans, media producers, and out-group members in the participatory fandom culture. This study makes four contributions. It enriches U&G theory by identifying and categorizing gratifications in this contemporary international context; it contributes to the conversation on media convergence and active audience; it provides insiders' view on relationship tensions within and surrounding fan communities; and it makes suggestions for media industry participants as they approach active fans and their fan works.
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