xi's moments
Home | Americas

Micro-short dramas tasti8k8 log inng global success

当我们收集完足够点数准备屠龙通关「MC肉鸽世界」??! | 8k8 log in | Updated: 2024-07-13 08:32:31

SONG CHEN/CHINA DAILY

While ReelShort surged to the top of the entertainment charts in the United States, short drama platform Top-Short outperformed Netflix in Japan, replicating the success of the micro-short drama format across international markets.

Micro-short dramas, a product of China's mobile internet ecosystem, represent a modern artistic form presented through the mobile internet. China remains a leader in mobile internet penetration globally, with balanced internet development and a rich ecosystem which continue to shape popular digital art forms worldwide.

China has pioneered several success stories including in cultural exports, which comprise online literature, mobile gaming and web series, thus gaining a strong foothold in overseas cultural markets. This expertise has come from understanding the mechanisms and conditions necessary for "exporting" cultural products, as well as developing the capability to regulate them.

Micro-short dramas provide a more accessible format than their predecessors. Unlike online literature, which requires reading, and mobile games, which necessitate active interaction, micro-short dramas offer a straightforward visual experience without the need for user input or narrative interpretation. They combine the advantages of various digital art forms, making them especially appealing.

The global popularity of micro-short dramas is not surprising, as they meet contemporary demands for cultural and entertainment consumption — low entry barriers, minimal time commitment, emotional engagement and continuous storylines. This format surpasses previous cultural export models by addressing deeper regional psychological needs, and is poised to give rise to more popular internet-based art forms.

Micro-short dramas have gained significant international reach because they fill a gap for foreign audiences — a need for entertainment that fits into fragmented schedules and appeals to popular tastes. While platforms such as Hollywood, Netflix and Amazon cater to middle-class audiences in the West and K-pop complements Western entertainment models, micro-short dramas offer something none of these can offer. They provide strong narrative-driven content and imaginative engagement, drawing from China's sophisticated internet landscape.

The export of micro-short dramas is not only about leveraging global trends; it's also about being influenced by domestic competition. Although a relatively new phenomenon, micro-short dramas face minimal industry barriers and are propelled by the underlying infrastructure of the mobile internet and the maturity of the digital cultural industry. They are fast becoming competitive within China, too, capturing a significant market share. With the global long-form video market relatively stable, micro-short dramas exploit diverse monetization strategies and broader user choices, tapping into finely segmented market opportunities abroad with fewer restrictions.

Previously, China's long-form video platforms tested the waters of global streaming with short dramas, achieving moderate success. Now, mobile-optimized vertical micro-short dramas are creating a new business model and breaking the limitation of only "borrowing boats to go overseas". The players facilitating the globalization of micro-short dramas include successful gaming and online literature companies with prior experience in cultural exports, which are leveraging their precision-targeting capability to expand into micro-short dramas and successful domestic micro-short drama platforms with rich content and data.

Stakeholders and markets have given rise to two types of productions: translated dramas and local original dramas. Translated dramas, selected from domestic series, are adapted and re-launched overseas, not only extending the industry chain but also integrating with AI-generated content and other emerging industries.

Overseas original productions, on the other hand, address the drawbacks of simply transplanting domestic themes on any productions, aligning more closely with local cultural consumption habits. By collaborating with local teams and foreign film crews, these ventures have significantly expanded their operational scope, enriching foreign contents with domestic experiences.

Popular domestic storylines such as a domineering CEO and Cinderella, or the underdog emerging triumphant, have been successfully adapted to foreign contexts, resonating well with audiences due to their narratives that, for instance, include werewolves and vampires for Western markets. Similarly, the "workplace makeover" theme has captured the Japanese market, by re-imagining the protagonist as a Japanese heiress in disguise to satisfy local cultural tastes and captivate viewers.

Although creating original content for foreign markets is a costly affair, local audiences, accustomed to paying for streaming services, are more willing to pay to watch. Short drama teams are also leveraging data from international social media platforms such as TikTok and Facebook for targeted advertising, sparking significant market interest and continuing to make profit.

Yet developing micro-short dramas overseas is not risk-free. The cost of producing original content abroad is significant, and the micro-short drama format is yet to reach maturity globally, with longer production cycles that diminish the chances of quick investment returns seen in the domestic market. For example, ReelShort, even after more than one year, features just a few dozen micro-short dramas compared with the scores of successful series that China produces every year, indicating a considerable gap in development.

Furthermore, overseas platforms for micro-short dramas are somewhat limited, while domestically a variety of portals have been used including those for mini-programs and dedicated apps, and overseas distribution, which often restrict downloads of specific apps, conflicting with the ease of use and wide coverage that suit the microshort drama format.

Collaborating on international network infrastructure is crucial for domestic investors, who should consider building platforms as stable and secure as those in China given the changing internet conditions and complex network environment, to provide a smooth viewing experience for global users. To ensure the long-term, healthy development of the microshort drama industry overseas, it is also necessary to improve intellectual property rights protection.

While micro-short dramas have substantial earning potential, their content remains limited to superficial observations of target markets, and face challenges including maintaining the quality of series and lowering operational costs. By gradually refining and mainstreaming micro-short dramas, the industry can meet increasingly rational market expectations and seize the opportunities despite cultural barriers, industrial gaps and the global situation, paving the way for even greater possibilities in the global market for microshort dramas.

Sun Jiashan is an associate researcher at the Central Academy of Culture and Tourism Administration; and Wan Qianqian is an undergraduate student at the China Film Archive. The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

If you have a specific expertise, or would like to share your thought about our stories, then send us your writings at [email protected], and [email protected].

如何获得狗狗妈妈的芳心,方法已教 学不会我也没办法了
Global Edition
BACK TO THE TOP
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349