Text | Ling Hu Boguang
I have written two articles about the development of Korean films in a row, one is the dilemma faced by the development of film Korea itself. Many people in China will say that Korean movies have already entered the world through the Internet. The other is that Korean films have gone international through Netflix.
This has a siphon effect on the Korean cultural industry, where Korean creators have fled overseas to cater to foreign audiences, causing their works to become cold at home. The remaining creators cater to the audience for the sake of the market, so tailors and entertain the content, and make the local audience of the work not like to watch.
These have led to the reluctance of South Korean capital to invest, the exodus of creative talents, the lack of creativity in local works, the crazy tailoring and entertainment of creation, and the audience is even more unbuying———— which has formed a vicious circle, and the development of the Korean Wave has obviously encountered difficulties.
Behind all this is South Korea's population of about 52 million, which is a decent economy, but the cultural market has long grown to its peak.
For example, South Korea is not without a huge entertainment company, on the contrary, idols are among the best in the world, but idol entertainment does not account for a high proportion in the cultural industry, such as South Korea's record exports in 2022 will exceed 230 million US dollars, plus what concerts, what derivatives, will not be much higher.
No matter how developed the Korean entertainment industry is, it has not given birth to a powerful streaming platform. Hallyu went to the world through American streaming media such as Netflix, as well as entertainment capital, and finally circled back to that development dilemma.
In just 3 years, the "Korean Wave" hit the southern wall? Chinese streaming is the answer
On February 22, iQiyi (hereinafter referred to as Tao) announced its revenue for the fourth quarter of last year, and the result was a net profit of 860 million yuan, a year-on-year turnaround. You know, in previous years, this platform advertised how many billions of dollars it lost every year, and now it actually began to make money (there is no meaning of washing, the evil done will not be mentioned here).
In the fourth quarter of last year, it had 6 popular dramas "Qing Qing Daily", "County Party Committee Compound", "Wind Blowing Half Summer", "Tang Dynasty Tricky Records", "Punishment Crime" and "Futuyuan". This long video is still content is king, there is content there is traffic, then there is money to earn, and then there is everything behind.
There are three specific measures for the platform to turn a profit, one of which is layoffs. The second is to reduce or cut off waist projects, work producers and investment platforms follow the accounting model to reduce investment risks, and the third is to use the greatest strength to make the head and content.
These three points are very important for the development of domestic dramas, and the current excellent dramas in 2023 include "Moses on the Plain", "Crazy", "Daming under the Microscope" and so on. In the domestic streaming media platform, there is a slight difference that not many people have noticed: that is, Tao is relatively more respectful of the creators and audiences (content production, not content consumption) in making content.
Penguin takes the road of making games, throwing money to monopolize big IPs, and then relying on traffic to attract ratings. So most of Penguin's dramas are adaptations from popular IPs, the traffic of the story itself is large enough, the content of the drama itself is good and bad, and the play is that as long as I monopolize the traffic entrance, even if you feed shi, you have to eat that routine.
The big IP is all in my hands, even if I shoot badly, the original fans have no choice.
Domestic dramas are still selling episodes in the sales mode, and there is to maximize the interests of a TV series. Some popular episodes are heavily watered, originally 45 minutes for you to cut into 30 minutes, various commercials and water injections. Of course, the evil that Peach does is the same, and some are even more serious, but in terms of content, it is relatively more respectful of the creator.
In 2019, "Hidden Corner" adopted American drama card points, regardless of the success of the duration model. This year, a similar drama "Moses on the Plain" was released. This drama has a total of 6 episodes, each episode is more than 1 hour, it is a literary film of more than 6 hours.
The director made a literary film, its duration was not cut to pieces, there was no compromise content for commercial purposes, and the platform did not intervene in the director's artistic pursuit, so it was released. This kind of heavy originality, cutting the purchase of copyrights, and investing heavily in head content is really starting to hit the road.
Reign king at home, compete with Netflix overseas? Chinese streaming and "cultural export"
In recent years, China's economy has been good, and the huge market of 1.4 billion people determines that even if the competition in Chinese pop culture is large, the capacity is large, and the ceiling is high. Like China iYoutengmang 4 parent video streaming platform; There are also five first-line TV stations plus CCTV headquarters, countless weak TV stations.
Therefore, don't look at the billions of losses that various platforms have suffered a year in previous years, don't believe this set, it's really not okay, you will go bankrupt for me. In the end, the crazy burning of money is not to seize the market, you see that after a flash shift, you actually made money. This kind of big market can allow you to fully compete, grow, and succeed after changing direction.
This economic development, population size and market size are the foundation of whether the cultural industry can prosper.
Why does it say "Moses on the Plain" above, because you can make money to pursue art. I was a little shocked when I saw this drama, not to mention that Teng Youmang does not have this kind of drama, how many years has our market not had such a slow-paced, artistic pursuit, completely regardless of commercial literary dramas (domestic film ecology is different, literary and artistic films have film festivals at home and abroad).
With the support of a huge local market, the cultural industry can go overseas, and now netizens call "cultural export". The domestic "streaming media" platform was all about grabbing copyrights, IPs and big stars around money in China around 2016, and only began to help overseas versions in 2019.
Here is a data for Thailand in 2021, Thailand has a population of only 71.6 million, which is very eye-catching
And this number is more than a year ago
The growth rate of other streaming media platforms in Thailand is also gratifying, and other Southeast Asian countries Vietnam needless to mention, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and other countries are also very popular. In Indonesia, for example, the proportion of penguins is also surprisingly contentious.
Netflix accounts for 24% and Penguin accounts for 22%, and the two sides can be said to be inextricably separated.
Peach and goose in the Southeast Asian market has been quite mature, whether it is APP website construction or content diversity, now Peach Goose is investing in Southeast Asian local dramas to broadcast on their own platform, has long passed the stage of simply exporting Chinese dramas, some people may not understand this meaning?
China's streaming platforms have begun to invest in the customized broadcast of some dramas in Southeast Asian countries just like Netflix's investment in Korean dramas, among which "The Gangster Young Master Falls in Love with Me" has achieved good results. At the same time, it also remade Chinese IP, and then purchased the exclusive broadcast rights of many popular Thai dramas such as "Blown Leaves" and "Walking in the Clouds".
Some people ask why we can't see it? This is just like Taiwan dramas such as "Reverse Game" invested by Tao, and our environment has led to many works invested by our own capital, but our own audience cannot see it.
These are the development of streaming media platforms that were completed in just three years of the "epidemic", and now with the liberalization and the adjustment of China's economic development, it is rejuvenated. I predict that the export of cultural content by domestic streaming media, and then investment in overseas content production, should accelerate rather than regress.
Hallyu defeats Hua Wave, and Han Ying hits Hong Kong movies? But at what cost
I have also written many times about the content of cultural export, as long as "cultural export is right" and "forcibly require others to recognize", this is to put themselves in a low-level position to be hunted by people's culture, this thinking itself is problematic, China has the ability and heritage to go out and also make people admire the arrogance.
Is it more important to work hard to serve foreign audiences than to serve domestic audiences well?
Guo Fan, the director of "The Wandering Earth", has a very clear understanding, and created Chinese science fiction, established China's film and television industry, and comprehensively built a Chinese pop culture industry chain. So, they've been more successful than ever.
The development of Hong Kong films is based on the economy, and once the mainland develops, the Hong Kong film and television industry is lonely, and open and free market competition is not the key, the essence is that Hong Kong's economic foundation is no longer working.
The development of the cultural industry must be combined with the economy, national strength, population and even politics, you will find that when the country is strong, there is everything, the local market is getting bigger and bigger, and if it can't be moved, it will eat other people's markets, and then naturally cultural export. And not in the absence of a strong foundation, they can't get a third of their own acres of land and go to the eyes of others.
A lot has happened in the "epidemic" in 3 years, and it also happens to be 3 years when "Korean Wave" shines in the world. There was a lot of discussion among domestic netizens, and cultural export spread and formed a collective consensus. Li Ziqi is a cultural export, "Genshin" is a cultural export, and then comparing with the "Korean Wave" is the defense -
I have been a part of it for a while, but I happen to do this, and I have always looked at problems with a development perspective. In the first two years, there was a review of the development and export of popular culture, experienced the ups and downs of the cultural industry in the past three years, the outbreak of "The Wandering Earth 2" and the Spring Festival file this year, and now check the data to find the dilemma of the development of the "Korean Wave".
I eventually discovered a huge trap in the export of cultures from East Asia, to be precise, backward countries – cultural pandering.
Everyone came from the era of Hong Kong films, the 8090s of the last century was the peak era of Hong Kong films, because of external events that caused the cultural market to suffer a heavy blow: later Jackie Chan and others did not go out, but foreign audiences were only interested in your action movies and kung fu movies, so they frantically catered to it.
The mainland market has supported Hong Kong comedy, costume films and police and gangster films for more than a decade.
As a result, Hong Kong filmmakers did not take advantage of the mainland market to develop a mature cultural industry, on the contrary, all kinds of riotous operations - this is objectively locked in the multi-directional development of Hong Kong films, when "Wolf Warrior 2" and "The Wandering Earth"Chinese mainland young directors rose strongly, Hong Kong filmmakers looked: I lost!
So we frantically cater to mainland audiences and only make police and bandit blockbusters that we still buy, and until now we don't buy it.
Korean movies in 2023, the development of the Korean wave has already encountered a similar dilemma to the original Hong Kong and Taiwan pop culture. But because of the economy, population and market size, I predict it will be better, but how long resilience will depend on how long it will be.
Hong Kong movies, Hallyu "cultural export" dilemma? We should have woken up a long time ago
To be honest, I think that people who are still obsessed with cultural export today are indeed more like a cultural anxiety that is not recognized by the outside world, and it is understandable to pursue recognition, but I hope these people can realize one thing: For Western civilization, the Hollywood film industry, and ordinary audiences in Europe and the United States, whether it is Hong Kong films at the beginning, and the Korean Wave after 2015.
Even the seemingly stronger Japanese two-dimensional, the entire Asian culture is for them nothing more than a "civilized other", an inclusive decoration under a world system dominated by them, and it does not matter who replaces this decoration. Instead of pursuing to become someone else's other, it is better to let film and television people do their job and serve their domestic audiences first.
Now another Hallyu after Hong Kong movies is about to fall in front of us, and we once fell into the trap of pandering to exports.
That is, the films of the fifth and sixth generations. However, I think that these works have high artistic achievements, special literary and artistic expressions belonging to a special era, although they cater to but are also their own cultural art, just like the Chinese rock started by Cui Jian, you can't deny its special culture and art in a special era, not to mention the high achievements.
The "Chinese blockbusters" with strong orientalist colors in the 00s are still the highest box office in overseas markets, but Chinese audiences can see that they are not made for domestic audiences, but for "cultural export". But at this stage, I still feel that there is merit.
Until works such as "Jinling Thirteen" and "The Great Wall", this logic reached its peak.
As a result, we have a strong national power, a huge population and a market, and in the end the reality is that neither the United States nor the West want your pandering, but fight a trade war with you. It just so happened that the previous year's "Wolf Warrior 2" was born, and the year after the "Wandering Earth" appeared, and the new generation of Chinese creators has long been unwilling to cater to.
Speaking of which, the instructors led the founding of New China to write "independence and self-determination" into the national DNA. As a result, 30 years after the experience, we began to take detours, and fortunately a new generation of young people has come back over the years.
Finally, Chinese pop culture is censored, and there are still many problems.
But Hallyu, it also matches.