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The key question to consider is whether capital and popularity benefits have been achieved following the overseas export of domestic drama series. Along with the increase in the number of domestic dramas exported abroad and their improvemen
  • 好来捕鱼游戏 Who are the Buyers of Mainland Produced Drama Series Going Global?

    发布时间:2019-11-23   分类:可以的捕鱼

    The key question to consider is whether capital and popularity benefits have been achieved following the overseas export of domestic drama series.

    Along with the increase in the number of domestic dramas exported abroad and their improvement in production quality, the situation is undergoing change.

    By 2018, some top-rated domestic period drama series could fetch overseas broadcasting prices of US$80,000 to US$100,000/episode. Following the export of some modern hits such as 'Day and Night' and 'Burning Ice', prices of modern dramas broadcast overseas are on the increase with better quality series fetching approximately US$10,000/episode. The introduction of a monthly pay-to-view subscription for the overseas broadcast of 'The Longest Day In Chang'an' in 2019 showed clear indication that the phenomena of domestic series released into overseas markets was on the rise.

    The journey abroad for 'The Untamed' clearly indicates that the regions involved in copyright transactions of mainland-produced drama series and the ways in which they are being carried out are becoming increasingly diversified, from online streaming media platforms such as Netflix and Viki to TV stations such as those in Korea. At the same time, the overseas export of drama series as a phenomenon in itself is also becoming more common. In recent years, top period drama smash hits like 'Nirvana in Fire' and 'Story of Yianxi Palace' as well as modern drama series such as 'All is Well', 'Stay with Me' and 'A Love for Separation' have all exported their copyrights.The Japanese version of

    This can be partially attributed to the development of the film and TV market, the expanding number of top-rated 'IP' drama series (those adapted from popular copyrighted material, e.g. games, music and novels), the stronger influence of film and TV content (both on the public and in terms of commercial involvement, e.g. advertising, sponsorship, etc.) and extended broadcasting coverage, thus attracting attention from overseas markets.

    Yet one more export channel includes overseas TV stations such as those in Korea, Japan and Malaysia. In Korea, there are special Chinese TV channels including Chunghwa TV, ChingTV, TVB Korea and Martial Arts TV.

    On the other hand, domestically produced drama series are much more popular in Asian countries. 'Ashes of Love', for instance, received the Most Popular Award at the 14th Seoul TV Festival, 'Go Go Squid!' was well received by audiences of video hosting websites including Viki and MyDramaList, while 'The Story of Minglan' achieved a new ratings record on Korean station, Chunghwa TV.

    Major drama series have received mixed feedback from different major markets and need to continue to test the water.

    Exporting to overseas markets is no longer a mark to represent success, whether or not such success is determined by high-quality program content or large capital backing. 

    Viewers make judgments based on an array of factors, not least the option to choose from a vast and growing spectrum of programming available in the modern media landscape. This will only become even more apparent with the continuing development of film and TV markets.

    Exactly which drama series have succeeded in their endeavors to go global?Negative impacts of domestic drama series export: lower popularity and low copyright acquisition prices

    Such low levels of popularity can be largely attributed to a reliance of the North American market on iconic Asian movie stars that have already achieved recognition abroad, for instance Jackie Chan or Gong Li, and, furthermore, significant East-West - cultural, historic and social - differences and references that serve to impede comprehension and emotional connection across cultures and thus content immersion by Western audiences.

    The Japanese version of 'Story of Yanxi Palace'

    Only recently, Netflix acquired the rights for the smash hit period costume drama 'The Untamed' and commenced streaming the series from 25 October across North America, South America as well as a number of European countries.The Netflix web page of

    The outcome became quite obvious. Overseas viewers were unable to understand the subtleties involved in these type of Chinese court dramas. After the broadcast, the platform's rating for the series once dropped even as low as 2.3, not to mention that the audience turned out smaller than expected. Should the massive cuts involved in producing the American version take the blame? To take a comparison, even while drama series including 'All Quiet in Peking' and 'When a Snail Falls in Love' were not cut for their broadcasts on Netflix, they only achieved low popularity.

    The stereotypical view is that European and American markets are more interested in period dramas from China. However, that may not be the true case. The critically acclaimed period drama series 'Nirvana in Fire' only received ratings from just over a thousand reviewers on IMDb in the North American market. On the contrary, well received suspense dramas such as 'Day and Night' and 'Burning Ice' performed better in comparison. Their overall popularity was nevertheless still quite low when compared with drama series of similar genres produced by European and American producers.

    In the past three or so years, the general public in China may have been sensing that the proportion of domestic drama series being exported abroad is gradually increasing.

    This year, 'The Longest Day In Chang'an' announced that it would be released in North America on Viki, Amazon and YouTube as a paid drama series, representing the first time that an exported domestic drama series has been made available for a monthly subscription fee. Though Chinese drama series have been being exported to overseas markets for some time, it is only recently that paid viewing was introduced. It is not so difficult to foresee the tough journey that lies ahead for domestic dramas in the copyright market.

    At the same time, film and TV production companies have been urgently seeking out new markets. This comes as a consequence not merely of market homogenization, but aesthetic fatigue on the part of domestic audiences who have been subject to too many similar types of program themes and storylines for too long. Hence, production companies are now attempting to sell their productions to foreign audiences in the hope that they should at least be curious about the content they created.

    It is certainly also worth noticing that while drama series are undergoing change, so too are viewer demographics and habits. This year, when news surfaced that Netflix acquired the broadcasting rights for the new version of 'Meteor Garden', commonly recognized as 'trash' by most of the viewing public, netizens on Weibo and other prominent social network platforms complained in droves.

    However, market feedback is also showing that domestic drama series exports are encountering hurdles on account of viewing differences across borders and cultures.

    One question meriting consideration is to the real and ultimate significance of this phenomenon of the exporting of drama series. What ultimate value, besides that of furthering a show's reputation, is being created by drama series entering this era of 'great navigation', particularly in terms of episode view counts or the prices of copyright acquisition? Or, to put it much more simply, is domestic drama export a good business?

    The most representative case is 'Empresses in the Palace', which was released overseas in 2015. In order to cater for the rhythm in watching TV series that North American viewers are accustomed to, the series was shortened to six episodes (90 minutes each) from its original 76. Putting aside the question of whether the integrity of the main plot was maintained, the build-up that should have affirmed, or at the very least improved, the understanding of imperial court culture and emotional entanglement was inevitably weakened.

    Another group of export platforms consists of video hosting services, for instance Viki, DramaFever and MyDramaList. Such platforms and similar websites focus more on Asian markets compared to those of other video hosting companies, with Korean and Japanese dramas accounting for a larger proportion of hosted videos. For example, Viki hosts a large number of popular Korean drama series and variety shows. Community volunteers then upload subtitles for the hosted videos for the benefit of overseas audiences. Domestic drama series such as 'Love and Destiny', 'Love O2O' and 'A Love So Beautiful' have all achieved successful ratings of around 9.5.Viki web page

    In overseas markets, one portion of export platforms for mainland drama series is streaming media platforms with international influence such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. For example, drama series such as 'Nirvana in Fire', 'Empresses in the Palace', 'Day and Night' and 'Meteor Garden' have been released and broadcast on Netflix with success. 'Empresses in the Palace' has been made available on Hulu while 'The Longest Day In Chang'an' has been streaming for a fee on Amazon.

    Even before the release of this news, the journey abroad for 'The Untamed' had already begun. On 11 October , a Korean TV station released the series' first official trailer, followed by its first official broadcast in Korea on 21 October. In Japan, Solasia Entertainment Inc, the series' copyright holder, has already acquired broadcasting rights, with a Japanese version of 'The Untamed' planned to be broadcast next year.

    In addition, the series was also made available on U.S. streaming websites Viki and OnDemandChina. At the time the finale was broadcast, its rating on Vike reached as high as 9.8, making it the platform's highest-rated Chinese drama.

    Some have been shown on global social network video platforms - of particular note, Google's YouTube. Domestic film and TV companies such as Beijing HualuBaina Film and Zhejiang Huace Film & TV have all set up their own special YouTube channels, while Chinese video hosting platforms such as Youku, Tencent and iQIYI have done the same. Drama series 'A Love So Beautiful', 'My Sunshine' and 'Princess Agents' have all achieved sizeable view counts on the globally recognized video platform.

    When 'Empresses in the Palace' became the first domestic produced drama series to have its copyright sold to Netflix in 2015, it was big news. These days, however, news of any domestically mainland drama series being exported to regions outside of China is met with a cooler response.

    Judging from top-rated drama series across different categories that have been exported overseas, it becomes apparent that all are moving in a similar direction, even though very few have been able to achieve their goals or attract much attention from foreign audiences. Dividing the export platforms loosely into several categories, we get a clearer picture of the content tendency of the drama series that have been exported into overseas markets.

    The other contributing factor has been the advent of more favorable regulatory policies. In 2017, China International Television Corp., in a joint effort with some domestic film and TV production companies, founded the Chinese Film and TV Import and Export Association. In 2018, the total number of member companies of the association reached 58. Furthermore, at the end of 2018, the regulatory authorities announced that the financial support that was already being provided for key national cultural export companies would be extended for a further five years, offering these companies further financial benefits and preferential tax measures. Under the guidance of such preferential policies, in 2016, the total volume of Chinese TV drama exports reached approximately US$120 million, and in 2017, approximately US$100 million.

    Viki web page

    Industry insiders have revealed that prices to acquire the copyrights of most domestic drama series for overseas broadcasting are relatively low, with the prices of most domestic drama series broadcast abroad ranging from several hundred to several thousand US dollars per episode. Period dramas, on the other hand, are better received by audiences of overseas markets. The prices of top-rated period hits such as 'Nirvana in Fire' and 'The Empress of China' have reached tens of thousands of US dollars per episode. However, such cases are still rare.

    The Netflix web page of 'The Untamed'

    At the recently held 6th Wuzhen International Internet Conference, Gong Yu, founder and CEO of iQIYI, stated that the 2018 volume of Chinese TV and film exports was approximately 800 or 900 million RMB. However, the proportion of film and TV exports to that of China's total import and export volume (30,000 billion RMB In 2018) was less than 1:10000. Clearly there still remains significant opportunities to expand the export market of domestic film and TV productions.

    Furthermore, even earlier than that, while 'The Untamed' was being viewed on the Chinese mainland, the series had already begun to be broadcast in several other regions. The show was broadcast simultaneously in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia via WeTV, Tencent's overseas video platform. In Thailand, while riding on the waves of the series' popularity, topics related to 'The Untamed' for some time even ranked highly on Twitter, and fan meetings were being organized.

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