At the vanguard of digital entertainment

Updated 2017-06-22 09:30:48 Shanghai Daily
Gao Xiaosong, a popular musician in China, announces in Shanghai to produce a new talking show in online radio platform Qingting.fm, which boasts more than 200 million users. Gao tries to “focus on voice again” in the new Internet landscape.(Ti Gong)

Gao Xiaosong, a popular musician in China, announces in Shanghai to produce a new talking show in online radio platform Qingting.fm, which boasts more than 200 million users. Gao tries to "focus on voice again" in the new Internet landscape.(Ti Gong)

Gao Xiaosong, a popular musician in China, said he would lend his voice to the 200 million users of Qingting.fm as part of a partnership for a new online radio show.

"The music recording industry is fast disappearing as people turn online," said Gao, who is also head of Alibaba's digital entertainment business. "This new show will focus on voice again."

No stranger to the Internet, Gao will be featured 156 times this year on Qingting, a Shanghai-based online radio platform. It is his first voice-only show online.

Online entertainment draws the majority of its income from video and games, but the industry is fast broadening its content to capture wider audiences. Firms like Baidu, Youku Tudou, iQiyi, Qingting and overseas media giants such as Discovery are at the vanguard of providing new formats.

The domestic entertainment industry is forecast to be valued at 1 trillion yuan (US5 billion) by 2020, almost triple last year's valuation, according to officials speaking at the ongoing Shanghai International Film and TV Festival.

New business formats include paid voice programs, personal talk shows and short videos. It's all part of what is called "PAN entertainment" services. Its definition defies easy explanation. It comes from an acronym for "personal area network" and refers generally to diverse online entertainment through development of integrated content that may combine sports, travel, education and healthcare with media formats like games, animation, literature, film and television.

The government seems to welcome a "healthy and diversified" online culture after strengthening its regulation on entertainment media and personal blogs and after restricting content related to fantasy and so-called "emperor's harem fight" dramas.

Qingting, with more than 200 million users, 9 million hours of online content and 15,000 licensed broadcasters, plans to invest heavily to establish a platform with qualified and diversified online audio services, including in-house productions like Gao's show, said Zhang Qiang, Qingting's chairman.

Children's education, knowledge programs and talk shows covering hot social topics are popular among Qingting users, who seem willing to pay for high-quality content. Qingting aims to make money from both advertising and paid subscriptions, said Zhang.

In 2018, an estimated 292 million Chinese consumers will be paying for various online content, compared with 98 million in 2016, according to research firm iiMedia Data.

IQiyi has signed up with Netflix to introduce US dramas into China. It says its web drama format will become more diversified and put more emphasis on reality, moving away from the current focus on fantasy and fiction, said Wang Xiaohui, chief content officer of iQiyi.

Celebrities

During the Shanghai Film and TV Festival, Youku Tudou announced that more than 50 celebrities will participate in new online programs covering culture, finance, education, documentaries, science and charities.

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