|Abstract: ||In a rapidly-changing information environment, it is necessary to stay up-to-date with industry trends to be productive (Austin, 2013). Particularly in an era where short videos dominate social media, a step has been taken from user generated content to professionally generated content. Multi-channel networks (MCN) have emerged, first, as assisting agencies for YouTube in the United States since at least 2013, providing creative media management services. This prosperous model emerged in China in 2015. Papitube represents a typical switch from a single influential media prosumer to a matrix of content creators. Despite the visible rise of MCNs, few studies look into their mechanism and systematically investigate its effects on changing the power dynamics of content creators in the short video industry compared with individual work. As investment and public attention continue to flow toward MCNs, it is necessary to address value and strategy questions so as to give basic directions to future studies concerning MCNs’ vitality.
This study first draws literature about cultural industries as the ground for content creation, then reviews the practice of individuals and organizations in content production. The literature together helps identify a set of measurement objectives of MCNs’ performances that are referred to in the following analyses. Next, the study adopts a qualitative document analysis approach and content analysis approach to examine the case of Papitube and its partners. The objective is to summarize stated values of Papitube in existing documents and analyze changes in content creation of prosumers through a content analysis of Papitube members’ social media performance with and without an MCN so as to identify what changes do MCNs bring to individual content creators in Chinese social media market and whether they are valuable.|