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AN INTERNET DRAMA THAT CHANGED THE SUMMER OF 2015 IN CHINA

Since “Rob a Tomb Notes” first launched on June 12, 2015, its online viewership has gone up steadily: over 300 million video views in the first week on iqiyi (a popular video website in China), over 500 million in the second week and over 700 million in the third week! The weekly format also served to whet the appetite of the soap opera’s fans on a regular basis. The drama is adapted from the popular novel of the same name, which tells the graveyard adventure story of three young people.

On July 3, iqiyi launched an event where members could binge-watch the entire series at once. (Of course, nonmembers of iqiyi could still wait for the updated shows each week.) It was the first time in China that an entire drama series was available for viewing all at once. Usually, the profits made by domestic video sites rely on advertising and membership. In this case, though, thanks to the lack of a group consciousness and understanding of copyright laws among Chinese Internet users and the long-standing expectation that content is available “free of charge,” membership profit is still in its infancy. So with this increase in on-demand viewing and membership, the launch of “Rob a Tomb Notes” on July 3 was extremely successful. According to statistics from Weibo, female viewers who binge-watched “Rob a Tomb Notes” in one night were at 88.61%; among female fans under 20 years old the figure was 55.52%.

While binge-watching did drive the growth in viewership of the weekly-format series, how can advertisers capitalize in a binge-watching environment where the predominantly female audience members do not see pre-roll and banner advertising?

Video website advertising will need to be increasingly precise: With the emergence of tracking technology, future advertisers may no longer struggle reaching their audience if they choose to pay higher fees that guarantee a more targeted viewership.

Video website advertising will be more interactive: With innovations from such companies as Niconico, AcFun, Bilibili and “play TV” (by cloud chain), we are seeing the entire video industry developing a richer interactive experience. Among them, “play TV” developed the first “social” video platform in the world, letting the audience click directly on items or people of interest in the video, make comments and even purchase products. This can be extremely effective when targeting women, who overindex on interacting with, sharing and even purchasing products featured in videos and shows.

Is our brand effectively navigating the online video space? Do you need to ascertain the smartest ways to a female target in this interactive environment? We can help.

To download this article in Chinese, click here.

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