Multi-platforms are making great efforts in national comics, and the development process of the animation industry is waiting to be seen
Editor’s note: This article is from the WeChat public account “Entertainment Unicorn” (ID: yuledujiaoshou), author: He Xichuang, 36 is released with authorization.
The domestic animation market has shown a more complicated trend. Video platforms such as iQiyi, Youku, Tencent Video, and Station B have all made efforts in National Comics. However, in 2021, the National Comics market has not yet incubated the expected big hit.
A few days ago, at the 2021 iQiyi World Conference, iQiyi announced that 59 self-made animation works will be launched successively during 2021-2022. At the same time, iQiyi has built the Qiran Theater (Zhenpin Guoman) and Rise Battle. Theater (Hot-blooded Fantasy Animation), Tao Man Theater (Sweet Love, Funny Light Animation), three major animation theaters. Gong Yu, the founder, and CEO of iQiyi said that in the future, iQiyi will increase its investment in animation content and increase the degree of industrialization. The animation will become a new battlefield for iQiyi in addition to dramas and variety shows.
Before iQiyi, Youku also announced 35 animation works at its 2021 spring conference, listing 6 matrices such as the scroll of Wanggu, the scroll of the song, and the scroll of the fantasy sea, and shouted The slogan of “New National Style”. At the same time, Youku launched two major programs, the “Starlight Project” (to establish cooperation with animation companies) and the “One Thousand and One Nights” project (the young animation director support program), intending to establish a more complete animation content system.
Tencent Video’s press conference this year has not yet arrived, but last year’s annual press conference announced 64 Chinese comics in one go. The head series such as “Douluo Dalu” and “Fights Break Sphere” on the platform has entered a stable harvest period. According to the financial report for the Q1 quarter of this year, the number of Tencent Video paid service members reached 125 million, an increase of 12% year on year. Among them, IP animations such as “Douluo Dalu” are one of the main contributors.
In addition to Youai Teng, the National Innovation Program of Station B was launched in April one after another. IP animation works such as “Luo Xiaohei’s War”, “Temporary Demon Record”, “Two Doubts” and other IP animation works have successively completed the hot fermentation of the circle. Among them, “Time Agency” “People” achieved content out of the circle to a certain extent, and the Douban score reached 8.3 points.
In the content market, competition for IP content such as drama series and variety shows has entered a fierce stage and attracting users through explosive film and television content is already a routine operation of major platforms. After the completion of the fermentation of IP content such as dramas, variety shows, and movies, video platforms unanimously regard domestic animation content as a new force, but the Guoman market is far calmer than expected.
The animation content war is set off, who will make the next hot style first?
In the animation layout of the long video platform, you can feel that the animation content of each company is closely connected with various IP adaptations, and all platforms are trying to incubate explosive works with greater coverage and higher monetization capabilities.
Youku, which was the first to hold a press conference this year, focused on the concept of a “new national style” in the animation field. In October last year, Youku announced the 31 national comics in 2021 in advance. The head IP was based on martial arts sceneries or historical legends, ancient style, and fantasy stories. Such as “Youth Song Xing Feng Huaxue Yue Pian” adapted from the novel “Youth Song Xing”, and “Ice Fire Magic Kitchen” by Tang Family Three Young Masters. At this year’s conference, Youku announced the PV of more than 20 works including “Youth Song Xing Feng Hua Xue Yue Chapter”, “The Tomb of God” and “Thirty-Six Riders”.
With respect to the content of a wide variety of subjects other platforms, Youku “New China Wind” seems to be a more vertical, traditional martial arts world, into the contemporary history of the legendary record NZ prime the IP adaptation. Part of the IP content is derived from the head content that has a certain fan base, such as the “Qin Shi Universe Series” and “Shaoge Universe Series”; the other part is the original IP obtained from the upstream content market and adapted to make Chen Dong and dreaming. The head writers from the beginning, such as Ji, the third master of Tang’s family, etc., all have works of animation development cooperation with Youku.
In the field of domestic animation, iQIYI is more inclined to self-produce small and medium-sized content and bet on dark horses than its high investment in IP adaptation. At the iQiyi World Conference, iQiyi announced the sequels of “Being a Star Today”, “The Evil King Chasing His Wife” and other series, and also announced “The God of Spring and Autumn”, “Master 3D”, and “Wind Up in Luoyang: The Magic Boy of Luoyang” ”And other works, except for some head adaptations, most of them are adaptations of small-scale novels or comics.
IQiyi maintains considerable independence in animation production, with its own animation/comic studios such as the material studio, high-energy studio, legendary studio, miracle studio, and Zou Xin studio as the core, to control the content. For example, the two new works of “Spring and Autumn Conferred God” and “Shenlan Qiyu Wushuangzhu”, which are expected to be launched in the second half of 2021, come from two studios, Youliu and Gaoneng.
Relatively speaking, Tencent Video and B Station are richer in IP content. Tencent Video is the first platform to publish cartoon lists and the highest number of announcements in 2020. It has published more than 60 works in one go, showing the “brilliance” of the industry’s leading platform.
Platform animation works include IP sequels such as “The Fourth Season of Douluo Continent”, “The Fourth Season of One Person”, “Fox Fairy Little Matchmaker Mu Tiancheng”, “The End of the Master of Magic Dao” and other IP sequels, as well as “The Dart”, “The Reader” IP adaptations of head graphic novels such as “The Tomb of the Qinling God Tree” and “AWM PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”.
It is not difficult to feel that most of Tencent Video’s animation IPs are the head IPs of the major content circles. Compared with other platforms that support the overall situation with one or two IP content, Tencent Video is obviously “IP rich”, and this is the same as Tencent Video. Its own content ecology is related to external alliances. Tencent Video Animation IP has not only the comic IP that has been incubated by Tencent Anime for many years, but also the head web text IP of the Reading Group, and some of it is the content of Kuaikan Comics, Molecular Interactive, and other platforms or comic MCN content.
Station B, which officially opened the Guochuang section in 2018, also follows a similar path. It establishes IP cooperation with external content platforms and harvests novel IPs such as Wenwen and Jinjiang for adaptation. However, compared with Tencent Video’s focus on IP content development, Station B is more focused on original content. A considerable investment has also been made. Last year, B station announced 33 new works, including “The Mortal Cultivation Biography”, “Yuanlong Second Season”, “Dinghai Floating Life Record”, “Parents from the Second Yuan” and other IP works, while B station original animation reached 13. The current hot work “Agent of Time” is the original production of Doraemon, established by Station B and Dream Animation.
So far, although new works such as “Agent of Time” and “Temporary Demon Recording” have been broadcasted one after another, there have not been any breaking animation works on the national comic market in 2021, and this animation content war has just begun.
IP adaptation, ecological development, animation play of video platforms
In addition to content reserves, it is worth noting that the development paths of animation content on various platforms are different.
Youku’s animation layout is backed by Ali’s entertainment ecology. The animation content is a link in the IP industry chain. The animation content amplifies the recognition of native IP and builds a core fan base. Then it relies on Youku dramas, Ali Pictures, Damai, and Koi Life. Realize IP full link development and commercial transformation.
Last year, Youku Animation collaborated with Aliyu and other businesses to gradually develop the “Shounen Gexing” link-based development. It not only launched the official figure of “Shounen Gexing”, but also announced that it would develop live-action films and television dramas for “Shounen Gexing”.
IQiyi implements the ecological development of “one fish, eat more” to the end. Most of iQiyi’s head works adopt a synchronous development model. For example, “Wind up Luoyang: The God of Machine Boy” will be developed across the entire range of animation, variety shows, dramas, VR experience stores, online movies, stage plays, and games. According to incomplete statistics from the media, iQiyi currently has 30 national comics that have achieved simultaneous linkage projects for comics, comics, and roaming.
This may be another way of playing outside of IP competition. IP content warfare is a high-energy-consuming competition mode. In an environment where video websites generally try to reduce content costs and operating costs, how to reduce content consumption and maximize the value of IP content through platform ecology is what video platforms are thinking about The problem. In addition to betting on some head IPs, iQiyi and Youku emphasize the ecological value of the platform.
As a new force in the video platform, Station B has a natural ACGN gene. The model adopted is to establish alliances with upstream and downstream animation companies in the industry to harvest high-quality IP for adaptation and development. B stands upstream to invest in various animation-related companies, establish alliances, and establish open cooperation with leading animation production companies in the industry such as Shimei Films, Ruohong Culture, Dream Animation, Foch Films, Zhongying Niannian, and Wayu Animation. Relations, the animation production is led by itself, the animation production company becomes its content assistant, and the B station itself takes advantage of the platform distribution advantages to complete the work publicity, promotion, and payment realization of the content in the middle and lower reaches.
And Tencent is like a combination of two ways of playing. On the one hand, Tencent has also invested heavily in animation content companies to build alliances. For example, the investment records of animation companies such as Virtual Pictures, Shimei Films, and Molecular Interaction have Tencent’s presence in the investment records; on the other hand, On the one hand, it relies on Tencent’s pan-entertainment ecosystem to systematically and link animation IP development. For head works such as “Full-time Master” and “Douluo Dalu”, Tencent Video has carried out diversified development of animation, film and television, and movies.
In recent years, the domestic animation market has appeared in the popular series of “Under One Person” and “Fox Fairy Little Matchmaker”, and there are also successful adaptations such as “Blessing of God” and “Mao Dao Zu Shi”. With continued efforts, more works may be born on the market, and whether these works can incubate the next batch of domestically produced hot models and stimulate the development of the entire animation industry, it will take more time to find the answer.