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Wednesday, May 25News That Matters

Inside the Daily Life of a Live Streaming Star in China | Op-Docs

Over the past year, as Covid-19 has severely limited our ability to interact with the world beyond our front door, livestreams have helped transport us to places we couldn’t visit, people we couldn’t see and events we couldn’t attend. In China, live streaming services command an audience of nearly 560 million, with streamers broadcasting to devoted followers who tune in every night. Successful live streamers can earn thousands of dollars each month in direct donations from fans, and those at the very top earn millions from brand sponsorships and major contracts.

In the short documentary above, we enter two agencies that scout promising newcomers and mold them into high-earning stars. But what’s it like working for a company that engineers every aspect of your life — and then requires you to livestream it all day?

– by David Borenstein (https://www.david-borenstein.com/)

Read more: https://nyti.ms/3073OoA

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Op-Docs is a forum for short, opinionated documentaries by independent filmmakers. Learn more about Op-Docs and how to submit to the series. Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@NYTopinion).


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  • never mind

    other people do livestream for fun abd maybe earn a little side profit but china always capitalizes everything

  • RexAceJ

    Some people dont understand and started giving the "look at the west side."
    What i can differ from the west streaming industry and this type of streaming industry in the east… (more likely its in countries that focuses on capitalizing on the entertainment industry (china and korea)) is that theres a lot of freedom that the people in that company does not have… they have to be all bubbly like, they can't frown or just cry while streaming, they can't be fatter than the standard that was given. The streaming industry for me is supposed to be free from all that and that people are allowed to cry and have an emotional breakdown during stream or just express honestly…

    yes its what they are supposed to do when they signed the contracts but if earning money this way helps then somethings are needed to be given up for.. like your whole identity… what if one of them were recognized by a fan on the streets? Are they supposed to act like the character that they have established or be themselves? After the contract ends, what other things can they do if they were already seen as the person they were and not seen as a person that has many possibilities other than their previous work… will companies just use their previous image and then not focus on the persons themselves?…

    And yes there are some few cracks on the industry overall but you can't just say "Its a west thing" or "Its the east's beauty agenda" because the exact same issues already existed in the tv celebrity cultrue or the modeling industry no matter what country they are in… singers, celebs were exposed to objectification and selling their bodies, and identities…

    Mid writing thoughts : (Am i making sense or im just rambling now…)

    Anyways yes it feels like a dystopia where the world is gearing upto now and you can't blame it one country or culture because essentially its us the consumers fault also… we fed this type of content so much that its starting to be more concerning…

    Also the doc was great but please lay off the filters because its too dark for my eyes… and it does not help when you just produce it to be one aesthetic when its supposed to be a documentary only… its like creating a research paper, have one hook then apply two or more sides of the topic and give more info about each side and then in the conlcusion give the common denominator or just leave it to the public to decide…

    For anyone wondering im not siding with any side on this, i hate the whole dark side of the industry no matter what country it is in. I like the west more than the east but i can't really deny how toxic it is also. In the east what i like in particular is how each streamers are focused on the things they want to focus and not involve drama into it for views…

    Edit : Im gonna delete this comment after some time to avoid cluttering my notifications because i already know that its gonna be a backlash for me. And i hope my thoughts on it might give some more perspective on the topic… Have a nice day!

  • David T

    NY Times and other American media really needs to be called out on their use of techno orientalism. It’s problematic that they try to make a “black mirror episode” of everything in China. 😐 It’s sinophobic and dehumanizing.

  • Perfect Students

    This job is stressful and tiring, but temporary. I think Jin He tries to earn and save as much money as possible now, while she is still young and beautiful.

  • yellowboxes09

    What I am seeing is one live streamer and one viewer getting their souls (and wallet for the viewer) sucked dry. have to wonder if this is the norm.

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