Quality rising amid vastness of Internet content

By Han Bingbin ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-06-02 11:00:55

Quality rising amid vastness of Internet content

Though there's still a long way to go for mature Internet productions, many believe that they have the potential to outstrip TV creations.

Traditional TV is losing audiences as online viewing becomes a new habit, said analyst Yang Shuting with EntGroup.

In an illustration of new media's new power, high-quality Internet productions are even finding their way onto traditional TV channels.

Quality rising amid vastness of Internet content

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Tencent Video's suspense and horror production Blind Spot made in cooperation with Hong Kong-based pay channel Celestial Movies will be broadcast in Southeast Asian regions, South Korea and Taiwan beginning in May.

Morning Call, a co-production by Youku and singer and director Gao Xiaosong, was broadcast on Zhejiang TV. On the Road, a Youku-produced reality show about a couple sailing across the Pacific Ocean, had one episode broadcast on China Central Television.

One of the fundamental advantages of Internet productions is the support of big data.

By analyzing audience preferences based on a rich pool of information, websites can predict trends and make programs accordingly, said Yang.

"So it forms a beneficial cycle between the websites and users. On the other hand, what traditional TV has been doing is to some extent blindly following trends," she said.

Tina Ma, chief producer at Tencent Video, said that scriptwriters themselves can also be involved in market research and the user analysis process. Because Internet series have more flexible broadcast times, adjustments can be made to the plots based on real-time analysis of the audience.

Audiences can use the interactive nature of Internet by choosing to watch a different ending or participating in a pop-up poll that will have their opinion seriously considered in subsequent episodes.

With TV screens filled with cliched costume dramas and cheap family sensations, the Internet is relatively open to keeping up with the world's most popular subjects, partly because its content is not subject to direct examination by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

As the number programs made by and for the Internet grow, subjects will become more focused, together providing a diverse range with wider appeal, said Wei Ming, CEO of Youku Tudou Group.

That is, of course, if controls are not tightened.

In late April, the state administration ordered the nation's major video websites to pull four high-profile American TV series off their sites, vaguely explaining that they violated regulations.

Soon after Diors Man, a popular production, was also removed, reportedly by the website itself.

"The fuzzy standards are always a problem. They don't give you an explicit criterion beforehand. But when you make a mistake or when they think you make a mistake, you get caught," said Legend Media consultant Peng Kan in a previous interview with China Daily.

"I think that the advantages Chinese video websites enjoy due to looser examination will probably come to an end," Peng said.

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