15 Sep HOW TO SELL YOUR WEB SERIES TO CHINA
Attention writers – China needs your stories. Now is the perfect time to sell your web series to China. China’s lack of strong scripts and an insatiable need for web content is a perfect combination. And web series are not just for millennials. Older generations are beginning to shift from traditional TV to the internet
The Chinese web series industry has seen record growth – up 30% from 2016. According to the article covering this year’s Shanghai TV Festival “Quality is challenged as web series ride the boom, Forum told” said, “It’s estimated that subscription revenues could surpass the film box office by 2020.”
CHINA CRISIS: BAD QUALITY, EXPENSIVE IP = YOUR OPPORTUNITY
However, Wang Xiaohui, Chief Content Officer of iQIYI – China’s leading video service provider, pointed to a looming crisis. He said, “It’s a process of fighting for major projects, stretching the episodes with stars who bring online traffic, and increasing the number of series while lowering the quality. Eventually, the audience will switch to watching American TV series again after experiencing too many disappointments.”
And some web novelists who made it big are too expensive or too competitive to get for most content buyers. Web novelist Tang Jia Shan Shaq (唐家三少) is said to have received royalties of more than RMB 50 Million (that’s 7.6 million USD) in 2014 alone.
GET TO KNOW THE MARKET
So, what should you write about? First, know your market. What has hit it big in China? In the article “China’s Entertainment Industry: Ready to Boom” it reported that “Most folks are eager to take a break from the stresses of modern life and like light-hearted fare. Big hits such as Goodbye, Mr. Loser, Tiny Times, Lost in Thailand and Pancake Man are irreverent comedies that depict a regular guy striking it rich or getting the girl.”
What about my IP protection? In my previous post “Strike Gold in China’s TV Market” I reported how Chinese companies have a vested interest to protect foreign IP rights.
50 BILLION CLICKS
In the article “iQIYI Unveils New Plans at Summit to Strengthen Online Drama Production” it reported that “The number of paid subscribers for online video contents reached 60 million at the end of 2016, according to CEC Capital Corporation and estimates by the investment firm put the number at 100 million this year and up to 250 million a year by 2020, well outnumbering cinema-goers by then.”
Furthermore, the article reported that the number of clicks for online dramas tripled from 2014 to 2016 to 50 billion. Additionally, iQIYI accounted for 60% of the online traffic towards online shows.
And China’s online giants are hungry for talent. Hot web novelists and Chinese stars are overbooked and expensive. To combat this problem, iQIYI’s recently introduced their “Tiger Cub Plan” and “White Swan Plan”. These programs will nurture new film producers, directors, writers and actors. iQIYI also plans to raise the budgets for online dramas and try the (U.S. style) multi-season drama.
iQIYI Vice President of original content Dai Ying said “The film and TV industry in China is not troubled by a lack of money or technology, but a shortage of good stories. iQIYI can certainly make a difference through a partnership with producers, directors, actors and other talented people.”
FIND YOUR PARTNER
Recently China Banking News published the article Alibaba, Tencent and Meituan Top List of China’s 100 Leading Internet Enterprises. You can see the full article here. The top five include: Alibaba, TenCent, Meituan, Baidu and JD.com. You can also look up top Chinese web series and check out their production companies there.