Premium animation intellectual property in China is expected to see remarkable growth in terms of quantity and quality in the coming years as the global appetite for high-quality video productions increases, according to Yang Xiaoxuan, vice-president of Chinese online streaming media platform iQiyi.
She said the ever-changing demand for video productions among consumers is placing higher requirements on Chinese industry players, pushing them to make innovations constantly.
Domestic animation, as an important segment of the industry, will have to improve its quality of content and operating system in accordance with the changes, thereby promoting the development of premium IP, Yang told China Daily ahead of Friday’s virtual roundtable forum titled “IP Strategies in the Age of Digital Ambassador”.
Despite being a relative newcomer compared to the United States and Japan, the Chinese animation industry has been developing fast in recent years. According to a 2019 report by market consultancy iResearch, the sector expanded from 171.2 billion yuan ($26.2 billion) in 2018 to 194.1 billion yuan last year, representing year-on-year growth of 13.4 percent. The market is projected to grow to 217.2 billion yuan by the end of this year, it said.
Fueling the market expansion is the rapid rise in the number of consumers. Chinese animated productions drew about 31.2 billion views in 2019, compared with 26.3 billion views the previous year, according to data analyzer Guduo Media.
“The number of consumers of domestic animation is expected to grow explosively in the coming years,” said Yang.
With the development of the Chinese animation business, a growing number of market players in the country have started to “go global”. For those focusing on video production for children, exploring international markets will be a trend, she said.
“On one hand, the absorption of international talent can help promote originality of content and enhance productivity in animation production. On the other, with international resources, Chinese companies will have wider distribution channels,” Yang explained.
But she acknowledged it’s not smooth sailing as Chinese firms are not familiar with aesthetic standards of foreign consumers and the censoring criteria of foreign countries.
To reduce the shock brought by cultural differences and better promote Chinese IP internationally, Yang said, iQiyi has adopted a new cooperation model with its overseas partners in producing Deer Squad — an animation series produced by iQiyi and supervised by Nickelodeon that was released this summer.
“We invited a Nickelodeon team to participate in the production from the very beginning — carrying out supervision and offering suggestions throughout the process. This could help us avoid problems brought by cultural differences in time and reduce the risks of Nickelodeon’s pre-purchase of content,” she said.
“Under this innovative model, we’re able to negotiate earlier with our overseas partners, paving the way for better presentation of Chinese IP internationally.”