Industries News.Net

Miniseries on trend, while seeking upgrades, overseas expansion

27 May 2024

© Provided by Xinhua

BEIJING, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The boom of short videos in China has changed viewing habits, leading to a surge in a new format known as micro-dramas or miniseries, which feature episodes between tens of seconds to over ten minutes.

Accessible to anyone with a smartphone or any other smart device, these small series, featuring multiple plot twists and rapid story development, have quickly gained a large following.

In 2023, the market size of China's internet short series was 37.39 billion yuan (about 5.26 billion U.S. dollars) , soaring 268 percent from a year earlier, and the market scale is predicted to exceed 100 billion yuan by 2027, according to data compiled by China-based business analysis firm iiMedia Research.

Boasting short production schedules and small budgets, many successful mini online series have generated lucrative profits. Usually promoted on short video platforms such as Douyin and Kuaishou, their income is largely from users' payments when they click the link to see the complete production.

The mini online series produced by Fung Culture based in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, "Unparalleled," set a record by earning a revenue of over 100 million yuan in eight days after its release.

Many new players have tapped into this market. In 2023, a total of 557 short online series were registered with the National Radio and Television Administration, more than double the number in 2022.

Along with the rise in numbers, miniseries face an increasing need for upgrades as well as strong regulation.

Short online dramas were mostly adapted from online novels with limited themes such as unbeatable heroes, the growth of characters, or female-perspective romance, but since this year, many producers have begun to try more diverse themes such as suspense and period dramas, said an industry insider.

China is also improving the regulation of the industry. The National Radio and Television Administration removed more than 350,000 episodes of such series deemed to contain harmful content such as violence and obscenity on multiple platforms from March to November 2023.

Starting from June 1, 2024, all mini online series released or promoted by online platforms and mini-programs are required to hold an online drama publishing license or a filing number with their corresponding platform.

Facing the growing competition in the domestic market, many enterprises have turned their eyes to the overseas market.

The scale of the overseas market was almost the same as the domestic market in 2022, and the overseas market is about to usher in new developments, according to Li Tao, general manager of Fung Culture.

At the end of 2023, Reel Short, a short-series application under the COL Group, was among the most downloaded entertainment applications on Apple's App Store in the United States. In February this year, another Chinese application TOPShort, once recorded more downloads than Netflix on Japan's App Store.

Bu Yanfang, a professor at the School of Economics and Management at the Communication University of China, said that Chinese short internet series should grasp the advantages of scale, experience and innovation to produce better works and further promote Chinese culture in the international market.

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