Is it the right time for short dramas to go overseas, but the theme of a son-in-law doesn't work?

Time: 2024-03-12 14:42

With the continuous transformation and upgrading of the film and television industry, vertical screen short plays have emerged.
Short plays going out to sea have become a new breakthrough.
What is the revenue stream of short dramas overseas? How much is the revenue? What are the current pain points?

First, short dramas show their edge when they go abroad, and the genes of online literature give them a first-mover advantage

As the film and television industry seeks transformation and upgrading, vertical short plays have become a new opportunity.
The domestic short drama market is becoming increasingly hot, but it also faces challenges such as homogenization and high costs. Some practitioners have begun to look overseas.
In mid-2023, vertical short dramas began to gain popularity in overseas markets such as Europe and America, attracting a group of loyal viewers who paid for the plot. With the strong payment ability of European and American users, short dramas going global are seen as another blue ocean after short videos and e-commerce.
Pioneers such as ReelShort and GoodShort have already established themselves in the European and American markets, and their downloads on the Google Store have climbed to the top level of "entertainment" applications.
The themes of the short play include marrying before falling in love, dating with the boss; currently, they are also trying revenge, abusive love, gangs, etc.
Most of these platforms have the genes of online literature going global, which can utilize rich online literature IPs to adapt short drama works and reduce copyright costs.
Relying on the foundation of online literature readers, it has also accumulated a group of fans for the short drama.
Overall, short dramas going global have left the conceptual stage and are gradually gaining recognition in overseas markets. The industry is expected to explore new opportunities in this new field.
 

Second,there are mainly two ways for short dramas to monetize overseas

1. User payment
Single episode unlocking payment:
After users see the preview of the first 10 episodes and the following episodes of the short drama on the Short Video Platform or social platform, they need to jump to a dedicated short drama app and continue watching by purchasing and unlocking each episode.
For example, platforms such as ReelShort, FlexTV, GoodShort, etc. all use this paid model. The price of a short episode is 0.3 US dollars, and it costs about 16-20 US dollars to watch a short episode.
Subscription-based payment:
Users pay a certain fee to become quarterly or annual members of the platform, and can watch all short plays on the platform without restrictions. The subscription fee generally ranges from $99 to $399.
2. Advertising revenue
In-app advertising:
When users watch content on the short drama platform, they will encounter product placement.
Some platforms, such as ReelShort, allow users to watch ads and unlock episodes for free (up to 20 episodes per day).
Episode product placement:
Some advertisements for "heavy" categories such as real estate, banks, hotels, and car rentals will also be placed in short dramas.
From the revenue data, top short drama platforms like ReelShort have very impressive returns.
According to reports, its revenue on the Google Play Store in July 2023 has exceeded $1.20 million, and its revenue in September has increased by about 37%, ranking in the top ten of the video app revenue list.
Short dramas going global seems to be not far from "earning millions per month", but localization adaptation, developing high-quality explosive products, and obtaining sustained returns are still numerous challenges that need to be overcome.

 

Third,difficulties faced by short plays going global

 
1. The challenge of cultural aesthetic differences
Domestic short dramas have already achieved a fully industrialized assembly line operation, from script creation to filming and editing, capturing the audience's appetite. Each link has a fixed pattern, with one week of filming and one month of release becoming commonplace. Top platforms can easily release 30-40 new dramas every month.
However, moving popular domestic short dramas to overseas markets in their original form will inevitably lead to aesthetic inconsistencies and cultural barriers.
For example, the male-oriented "son-in-law" theme that is popular in China (with the big male lead cheating) has completely failed in the European and American markets. Due to the differences in Chinese and American cultures, many European and American audiences cannot understand the setting of the son-in-law's counterattack.
There are also some ancient costume time-travel works with a strong Chinese cultural heritage, which are also difficult to break through with European and American audiences.
Looking at the popular male-oriented themes in Europe and America, such as the power struggle drama "The Lord of the Rings", the conspiracy drama "House of Cards", and the sci-fi masterpiece "Star Wars", these works have trained the taste of local male audiences to a very high level. It is difficult to promote the popular male-oriented genre in China in Europe and America.
According to statistics, the main audience of overseas short plays is middle-class housewives between the ages of 25 and 45.
Their time is cut off by complicated tasks such as housework, parenting, and socializing. They prefer high-energy, stimulating, and concise short dramas to meet their fragmented viewing needs.
They don't like to watch sadistic love stories that make them sick and complicated mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationships. They prefer themes with male and female protagonists, such as gangs, heirs to wealthy families, vampires, rebirth, revenge, etc.
2. Serious shortage of production capacity
Due to the fact that domestic themes cannot be directly copied to foreign countries, overseas short dramas face the dilemma of too few film crews and talent resources.
Most top platforms can only barely maintain the number of new releases per month at around two, far from meeting the audience's demand.
Therefore, the overseas short drama market may seem like a blue ocean, but to truly attract local audiences to continue paying, innovative and high-quality content is fundamental.
Purely pursuing business model arbitrage is not feasible. Only by completely matching the taste of overseas audiences and creating unique content can one occupy a place in the long term.

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