News From China
Vertical programming is on the rise in China. On the reality-show front, traditional broadcasters and streaming services have used short-video content in the vertical format to promote their offerings, such as Jay Chou’s upcoming Zhejiang TV travel show, which will use vlogs to supplement the regular programming. However, short-video platforms retain an advantage in producing programs that are native to the format, such as Douyin’s “Every Me” (每个我), a celebrity-focused documentary/talk show series with five-minute episodes, and there is still a great deal of commercial potential to be exploited.
The e-commerce shopping app Xiaohongshu and dating app Yidui have found early success integrating into vertical content with their title sponsorships of the first two seasons of “Life Put a Hand on Me” (生活对我下手了), a scripted comedy series from iQiyi. In the first season, Xiaohongshu appeared on the show and its app was the official channel for the cast to interact with fans, which they did by posting “video notes.” In the second season, Yidui increased its placement on series and used Weibo as an additional platform for promotion.
Starlink’s November report on brand sponsorships of Chinese reality shows includes the following findings:
- There were 16 new releases last month, a nearly 50 percent drop from October, though all but one had some form of brand sponsorship.
- There were a total of 47 brand sponsorships, with shows focused on romance, culture and travel gaining the most attention.
- Beverage, food, and cosmetics and personal care brands were the most active in sponsoring new reality shows.
- Mango TV’s “Viva La Romance” (妻子的浪漫旅行), now in its third season, drew the most brands (8), with Vipshop.com taking the title sponsorship.
On the scripted programming side, here are the key takeaways from Starlink’s November’s brand integration report:
- A total of 28 new drama series premiered last month, roughly on par with the previous month’s releases.
- More than half of the 17 online series featured product placements, compared with just four of the 11 television dramas.
- A total of 32 product placements were noted, with brands in the beverage, alcohol and health product industries among the most active.
- Urban youth romance “Crocodile and the Plover Bird” (鳄鱼与牙签鸟) cooperated with seven brands, more than any of the other new releases.
Confectionery brand Dove worked with QQ Music to reach young consumers by putting pop song lyrics on the wrappers of its candy bars. The packaging also included a QR code that buyers could scan for a free week of QQ Music membership. Dove also sponsored QQ Music’s live broadcast of “Big Music + Super Live” (大音乐+超级现场) on November 30, with singer Jane Zhang appearing in a pre-show “warm-up” which promoted Dove. Zhang was later announced as the brand’s music ambassador via Weibo.
Chinese automaker Haval’s recently released its new F series models targeting younger car-buyers, and launched an accompanying Douyin challenge which brought it 135,000 new followers to its official Douyin account. The challenge used the theme of “fashion” and offered custom filters with elements from the Haval F5, and more than 365,000 videos were created by users during the course of the competition.
News in English
- Discount social e-commerce platform Pinduoduo clarified that it is not going all-in on livestreaming just yet, noting that it only added a livestream plug-in as a convenience for its sellers. Technode
- “Frozen 2” merchandise has been a big hit in China, and not just among kids. Items created for the Chinese market, including as a brooch and woolen scarf, have been sought after by young adult consumers as well. China Daily
- Not surprisingly, Zhejiang TV canceled its extreme challenge reality show “Chase Me” (追我吧) following the death of actor Godfrey Gao during filming. The broadcaster also released a statement about the incident, which has not satisfied Gao’s mournful fans. Drama Panda
- China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has proposed regulations to tighten control over live performances and any broadcasts of them. Sixth Tone
- Advice on how brands should approach the emergence of shoppable video, which is set to take off in China before anywhere else. Ad Age
- Alex Zhu, who heads TikTok for Bytedance, has postponed planned meetings with U.S. lawmakers in Washington to address concerns about the company’s relationships to its Chinese parent company and authorities in Beijing. CNBC
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