Chinese consumers’ sophistication is emerging even in their media preferences.
Popular with American and British audiences, Benedict Cumberbatch, Doctor Who and “binge watching” are scoring with Chinese viewers as well.
Pierre Cheung, vice president and general manager of BBC Worldwide’s Greater China division tells The Hollywood Reporter, “Benedict Cumberbatch is enormous everywhere. He’s handsome, quirky, intelligent and serious. He’s extremely popular here. But so is Doctor Who. Anything with a layer of complexity. I think viewers, young and old, are getting a lot more sophisticated here in China.”
Binge watching, the practice of watching television for longer time spans usually of a single television show, has become a cultural phenomenon worldwide with the rise of online media services. Binge watching is “one of the most profound changes to hit the small screen business in memory, a revolution in the way TV is distributed and consumed,” according to The Variety.
Not only have the Chinese discovered binge watching and are hooked like the rest of the world, they lead the way. According to an Edelman study and reported by Rapid TVNews, “in the US, 94% of respondents said that they binge-view television. In the UK, it’s 89%; and in China it’s almost ubiquitous at 99%.”
U.K. broadcaster BBC Worldwide’s deals with the Chinese streaming-video firms Tencent, iQiyi, Yukou and BesTV have been popular and undoubtedly contributed to the nation’s binge watching movement. BBC recently signed content deals with other Chinese outlets, including Shanghai Media Group ICS, state broadcaster CCTV, DOXTV and Wingsmedia.
Cheung believes that localization is key to the Chinese market. Typically, pacing of shows and formats are often changed, but he observed that Chinese viewers are now looking for “an extra layer of content” beyond the daily soap opera kind of drama.
image credit: bbc one