China: Costume dramas becoming more popular overseas

Photo provided to China Daily
A scene from “Nothing but Thirty”

Have Chinese audiences on average spent more time watching entertainment content online in this uncommon year when the battle against COVID-19 is still being fought? In the latest annual report released by Tencent Video, one of the largest streaming sites in China, the answer is “yes.”

An average consumer has spent 133.9 minutes each day watching TV dramas, a 10 percent increase compared to last year, according to the report.

Interestingly, romantic TV dramas account for 36% of all 131 television series newly streamed on the site this year, topping all genres.

In the overseas market, Chinese dramas are seeing a rise in popularity, propelled by hit costume dramas like “Three Lives Three Worlds,” “The Pillow Book,” and “The Romance of Tiger and Rose.”

The report shows that subscribers of WeTV, the overseas version of Tencent Video that is available in more than 110 countries and regions, have risen 175 percent over last year, with time spent watching these programs up 300% year-on-year.

Shows with strong female roles are more popular, exemplified by the hit series “Nothing but Thirty,” “I Will Find You a Better Home” and “A Murderous Affair in Horizon Tower,” the report said.

It also found that a quality trailer played a pivotal role in drawing an audience, as about 90% of consumers pick their choices among the options from trailers.

As a result of the six-month closure of Chinese cinemas, a number of people have shifted to watching films online, propelling the prosperity of movies tailored for the internet.

Such blockbusters include “The Enchanting Phantom” and “Mojin: Mysterious Treasure,” which have seen their box-office takings — shared with the streaming site — surpass 40 million yuan ($6.12 million).

Through Nov. 30, a total of 15 online films have surpassed the threshold to earn more than 10 million yuan, propelling the annual box office receipts on Tencent Video to nearly 500 million yuan this year.

While TV series are almost “dominated” by female audiences, men favored online movies more. Nearly 70% of online film viewers are men, whose favorite themes center on fantasy, comedy and adventure.