2023-06-21 23:00:01

STVFORUM | Three Major Opportunities for Audiovisual New Media and Unlimited Potential for Internet-generated Content


On June 21, the Shanghai TV Festival (STVF) and the Development Research Center of the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) jointly held the "Release of the Annual Report on Development of China’s Audiovisual New Media and Internet-generated Content Trend Insight" TV forum. The forum released the heavyweight "Annual Report on Development of China’s Audiovisual New Media (2023)." During the keynote speech and roundtable forum sessions, representatives from relevant online audiovisual platforms and creators of Internet-generated content engaged in in-depth discussions on "Internet-generated Content Trend Insight," expressing their views on the prospects of China's online audiovisual industry.



Status Quo: Online Audiovisual Becomes the Largest Internet Application


The "Annual Report on Development of China’s Audiovisual New Media” is an annual development report organized and written by the Development Research Center of NRTA, with 9 editions published to date. The report closely follows policy guidance and industry development trends, authoritatively releases and comprehensively showcases China's annual audiovisual new media development achievements. It also delves into innovative experiences and development paths, looks forward to the future, and gives keen insights on industry development trends, all of which make it a brand think tank report in the audiovisual field.


Zhu Yannan, Party Committee Secretary and Director of the Development Research Center of the NRTA


At the event, Zhu Yannan, Party Committee Secretary and Director of the Development Research Center of the NRTA, was the first to release the "Annual Report on Development of China’s Audiovisual New Media (2023). " According to statistics, by the end of 2022, the number of online audiovisual users in China had reached 1.04 billion, with an Internet user penetration rate of 97.4%. The number of online audiovisual users is nearly three times that of ten years ago, and the scale of the online audiovisual industry is more than 20 times that of ten years ago, making online audiovisual the largest category of Internet applications.


The report notes that internet dramas, variety shows, films, documentaries, animations, and other audiovisual programs are rich and diverse, with short videos and interactive video content formats innovating rapidly. Internet audiovisual organizations have become platforms that aggregate creative audiovisual programs from the masses and have also become essential platforms for the creative transformation and innovative development of excellent traditional Chinese culture. Audiovisual new media is currently accelerating its transformation and upgrade, entering a new phase led by audiovisual+ media.


The report points out that audiovisual new media is welcoming three major opportunities: first, media convergence is entering a new stage, the era of full-media intelligence; second, a new round of information revolution is bringing revolutionary changes in technological routes and breakthrough innovations in production models; third, the production of pan-knowledge content and the construction of learning platforms are becoming important opportunities for audiovisual new media to build new cultural positions.


The report emphasizes that since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, cultural construction has been placed in a prominent position in the governance of the country. As an important carrier and means of cultural construction, Chinese audiovisual new media should play a more significant role.


Exploration: Stick to the Original Intent and Return to What is Real


Chen Liaoyu, Animation Director and Associate Professor of the Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy


During the keynote speech, Animation Director and Associate Professor Chen Liaoyu from the Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy gave a presentation titled "All Stories in the World, Only Truth Remains Solid." He shared his feelings and experiences in the creation of the animation YAO-CHINESE FOLKTALES. He stated that, in the current era of "innovation by all," returning to what is real may be the most effective path for creation. "Innovation and diversity are what you want, but they may not be achievable. Only 'reality' is what you can truly accomplish." He pointed out that "reality" is the most effective emotional bridge between works and audiences. Even though everyone's aesthetic needs differ, no one can say no to genuine emotions.


He emphasizes that conveying emotions truthfully is more important than simple value judgments, "We are often in a hurry to make conclusions about what is good or bad, but in real life, choices are not that easy. The biggest dilemma for people comes from the difficulty of pleasing everyone while having to make a choice, which is a feeling that resonates most with people." Only by returning to reality can the creation be more vivid.


Regarding the issue of some animation works indulging in technical prowess and exaggerated storytelling, Chen Liaoyu believes that the root problem is the creators' inner "disbelief." "The ancient tales that we speak of today were called notebook-style novels at the time, and the ancients recorded them as real events. Why do we find the language of many ancient tales concise and plain? That is because they believed. And why is it difficult for us today to interpret these stories? It's because the scientific education we received has made us doubtful." In the creation of YAO-CHINESE FOLKTALES, he repeatedly emphasized to the creative team to "strive to imagine and express it in plain language", "Make efforts to believe in our original creative intention, believe in the story, and believe in the audience, so that our expression will become real and natural."


Jiang Bin, Vice President of iQiyi


Jiang Bin, Vice President of iQiyi, shared his thoughts on the innovation of online audiovisual programs through the behind-the-scenes creation of the interactive reality show BELIEVE IN THE LAND. He revealed that initially, during the research and preparation for the project, there were many opposing views. One comment that left him deep impression was, "How dare you turn farming into a show; it's terrifying. You variety show creators are way out of line!" Despite this dampening remark, the creation team did not become disheartened. Instead, they put on rubber shoes, picked up hoes, personally experienced real farming life, and handed in a PPT report of more than 100 pages. "Only 8 pages were about the program's concept; the rest were detailed records of the director team's farming and breeding activities in Hangzhou for more than half a year, including the difficulties encountered and the reasons for failure."


Jiang Bin stated that the greatest difference between BELIEVE IN THE LAND and traditional variety shows is that the latter often derive fun from the guests' "mistakes" in the program. However, farming is something that absolutely cannot go wrong, otherwise, it would be a tremendous waste of land resources. In the end, 10 young people completed the farming tasks of 142 acres of land in 192 days. "We always believe in the power of the land, believe that we can exchange time for content, and go all out to prove that our judgments and persistence are correct." Meeting expectations, BELIEVE IN THE LAND produced 74 long videos, more than 1000 short videos, and 27 large-scale live broadcasts in just one season. A secure grain supply brings benefits to the world. BELIEVE IN THE LAND adhered to its initial creation intent, deriving from the national strategic height, and evoked people's reverence and love for the land and nature, conveying a down-to-earth, positive attitude towards life. In this sense, the program has become a successful model for current online variety shows to uphold tradition and disseminate mainstream values.


Outlook: Embrace the Future and Improve the Content Ecosystem


Chen Xiao, Senior Vice President of iQiyi


With the vertical and diversified development of online audiovisual content, users' demands and consumption habits have also undergone some new changes. In the roundtable forum session, Chen Xiao, Senior Vice President of iQiyi, mentioned that the current audience has a more differentiated self-awareness, and vertical categories are more segmented. On the other hand, under the influence of domestic and international environments in recent years, works positioned to return to tradition and mainstream values have begun to become important forces in leading the market and creation.


Cui Chao, Deputy General Manager of Tencent Online Video Platform Operations Department


Cui Chao, Deputy General Manager of Tencent Online Video Platform Operations Department, stated that although big data can predict some trends and changes, the entire production cycle of audiovisual content generally takes two to three years. "Accurately predicting the changes in user and market demands is very difficult." He believes that only by returning to the essence of content can one truly win in this market. "Good content must have emotions that touch people's hearts, and emotions are relatively constant, which can maximize the offset of uncertainties brought about by time."


Li Jiongdeng, Chief Editor of Himalaya


Li Jiongdeng, Chief Editor of Himalaya, believes that with the development of AIGC (Artificial Intelligence Generated Content), the amount of knowledge-based content will undoubtedly increase. Podcast programs with subjective experiences and opinion-based output will have a higher value and will be the next hot trend in online audiovisual content. "Simply talking about coffee culture will not work; instead, one must be specific about the appreciation of coffee beans."


Zhou Yi, Vice President and Chief Editor of Bilibili


Zhou Yi, Vice President and Chief Editor of Bilibili, stated that the platform must always stand with young people and collaboratively create high-quality content. Only by becoming a partner and a part of young people's lives can one understand their thoughts and ideas, encouraging and guiding them to actively produce and disseminate high-quality content. By collaborating with professional content organizations, user-generated ideas can be upgraded into professional content, realizing refined and long-lasting mainstream value propagation. Bilibili will fully research the preferences of users within its community and apply them to the creation process of professional content such as animation, documentaries, and variety shows.

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