2023-06-21 22:00:00

Embracing New Missions, Striving Forward in a New Journey — The Release of the Annual Report on Development of China’s Audiovisual New Media (2023) at the Shanghai Television Festival


The following article originates from the Think Tank of the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), authored by the research group.

On June 21, the 28th Shanghai Television Festival successfully hosted the STVFORUM, themed the "Release of the Annual Report on Development of China’s Audiovisual New Media and Internet-generated Content Trend Insight Forum" in Shanghai. The forum was co-hosted by the Development Research Center of the NRTA and other related agencies. Zhu Yannan, the Director of the Development Research Center of the NRTA, made a significant release of the primary content of the "Annual Report on Development of China’s Audiovisual New Media (2023)". The report comprehensively demonstrated the annual developmental achievements of audiovisual new media in the new journey, analyzed innovative experiences, and forecasted developmental prospects. The main content of the report is summarized below.


Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, cultural construction has been placed in a prominent position in governance, and China's audiovisual new media, as an important carrier and means of cultural construction, has played a pivotal role. According to statistics, by the end of 2022, the scale of China's online audio-visual users reached 1.04 billion, with a netizen usage rate of 97.4%. The number of online audio-visual users is nearly three times that of ten years ago, and the scale of the online audio-visual industry is more than 20 times that of ten years ago, making online audio-visual the largest internet application. Online dramas, online variety shows, online movies, online documentaries, and online animations are rich and varied. Content forms such as short videos, interactive videos are accelerating innovation, and online audio-visual organizations have become platforms for gathering audio-visual program creativity and mass innovation. Audiovisual new media is accelerating its transformation and upgrade, entering a new stage led by the audio-visual+ era.


I. Concentrate on Promoting Significant Themes, Resonating in Unison, and Extolling the Main Melody of The Times


Audiovisual new media persists in regarding core propaganda as the primary political task and significant political responsibility, wholeheartedly and diligently conducts leader publicity reports, and innovatively carries out the propaganda and interpretation of Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. It continuously enhances the effectiveness of the "Consistent Headliner of the Homepage with the Higher Level" and short-video "Consistent Push on First Screen Project" functions on online audiovisual platforms, promoting core propaganda, so that the content will be deeply rooted and heartfelt among the mass. According to statistics, in 2022, the "Consistent Push on First Screen Project" released a total of 888 short videos related to General Secretary Xi Jinping, with a total playback volume exceeding 17.3 billion times. It vividly and vigorously conducted the publicity and reporting of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, presenting the grand occasion of the 20th National Congress with all-round, matrix-style, and three-dimensional communication, constructing a positive energy transmission matrix from multiple dimensions. It focused on major events and important time nodes, resonates at the same frequency for publicity and reporting, and sings the loudest voice of the new era in the online audiovisual space.



II. Online Audiovisual Art Masterpieces Effectively Showcase the New Appearance of The New Era


In 2022, there were 426 online films, 251 online dramas, 330 online animated films, 8 online documentaries, and 336 online micro-short dramas registered as key online audiovisual programs.

For online dramas, in 2022, the proportion of realistic-themed online dramas exceeded 60% of the total works launched throughout the year, covering suspenseful criminal investigations, urban emotions, campus youth, and female growth themes; for online variety shows, a series of original IPs targeting young groups were created, promoting the effective connection between mainstream values and mainstream groups; for online films, the quality of the main melody-themed works further improved, with a total of 45 main melody-themed online films launched throughout the year; for online documentaries, a batch of works showcasing the achievements and transformations of various industries in the new era over the past decade was released, leaving behind vivid and authentic images for the new era; for online animated films, a group of works with sentiments, warmth, and good reputation emerged, demonstrating the struggle of the Chinese people from standing up, becoming prosperous, to becoming strong.


III. The Momentum of Industrial Development Is Robust and Resilient, Upgrading from "Stable Operation" to "Strong Operation"


According to statistics, in 2022, the scale of China's online audio-visual users surpassed instant messaging to become the largest Internet application. Among these, the scale of short video users reached 1.012 billion, a year-on-year increase of 77.7 million, and the scale of live streaming users reached 751 million, a year-on-year increase of 47.28 million. Short videos and live streaming are becoming important raceways and robust engines for driving the growth of the audio-visual new media industry. In terms of revenue, the total income of online audio-visual service organizations was 668.724 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 23.61%, accounting for more than half of the total industry revenue. The income from related online audio-visual services was 441.98 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 22.95%. Among these, services income from user payment, program copyright, etc. increased significantly, reaching 120.938 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 24.16%; income from short videos, e-commerce live streaming, and other sources grew rapidly, reaching 321.042 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 22.51%. In terms of market scale, the pan-online audio-visual field had a market scale of 727.44 billion yuan, among which the short video field had a market scale of 292.83 billion yuan, the live streaming field 124.96 billion yuan, the integrated video field 124.65 billion yuan, the OTT/IPTV market scale 86.71 billion yuan, the content creation market scale 64.44 billion yuan, and the online audio market scale 33.85 billion yuan.

New business forms and services are innovating and upgrading, creating new business models. Relying on the development of the Internet and digital economy, the audio-visual new media industry actively complies with new consumption, cultivating new modes. Such as exploring the DTC (Direct-to-Consumer) model, effectively utilizing the platform's public service capability to meet new demands. The industry effectively coupled with the real economy, cross-industry extension of value chains and industry chains, building a pan-content cross-ecological system. Relying on the integration of culture and tourism, it created new online and offline immersive experiences, expanding the consumption depth and commercial imagination of audio-visual content. New market tracks have emerged, with the possibility of breaking through the commercial closed-loop of videos. Derivatives derived from video content have formed new consumer markets.


IV. The Level and Effectiveness of International Communication Continue to Improve, with Short Videos Becoming an Essential Form of Overseas Expansion


Content and IP export momentum remains robust, and main melody works are increasingly attracting overseas attention. Realistic-themed works are exposed to more audiences, showcasing the genuine and diverse social landscape of China; youth-themed works become an essential vehicle for Chinese and foreign youth exchanges and mutual learning; costume historical themes serve as an essential channel for disseminating Chinese aesthetic spirit, further demonstrating Chinese cultural confidence. Overseas communication relies on international editions and overseas social media accounts, forming a dual overlapping overseas communication posture of "going out" and "coming in." Short videos have become an essential carrier for content going overseas, and pan-cultural short videos featuring Chinese characteristics and traditional Chinese cultural aesthetics have become vital overseas content, with more and more foreign netizens getting to know China through small screens.


V. Innovation and Application of New Audiovisual Technologies Promote the Industry to Evolve and Upgrade


With new technologies empowering new content, content innovation has become increasingly influential. The perfect combination of virtual visuals and technology stages sees the creation of visual splendors; unreal engines, CG, motion capture, real-time rendering, and other technologies are applied in the field of drama series and animation. New technologies empower new services, creating new experiences in online audiovisual content. The empowerment of technology on services reaches new heights, continuously improving users' operation, viewing, and usage experiences, enhancing user stickiness and audiovisual acquisition. New technologies empower new industries, achieving the iteration and upgrade of the film and television industry. Online audiovisual content gradually builds a new industrialization system, promoting the film and television industry towards procedural, platform-based, and intelligent upgrades. Online audiovisual creation evolves from UGC, PGC, and other human-produced content to entirely new AI-generated content, with the generative AI represented by AIGC technology's universal capabilities and industrialization level rapidly improving, promoting the mutual empowerment of film and television shooting technology and virtual reality technology.


VI. The Industry Management System Is Further Improved, and Efforts on Guiding and Governing the Industry Have Enhanced.


The strengthening of the system construction further standardizes the order of online drama content creation and production. The "Detailed Rules for the Content Review Standards of Online Short Videos" have been revised and improved, and a series of normative documents have been issued on the regulation of online live reward, game live broadcast, network anchors, online concerts, and others, guiding the healthy development of hot sectors in the industry. To further improve the online drama content, the "Work Plan for Further Strengthening the Content Safety Management of Online Audio-Visual Programs" was launched, clarifying the key tasks of content management. The "Notice on Relevant Matters Concerning the Management of Licensing Services for Domestic Online Drama Distribution" was issued, initiating administrative licensing management for online dramas, online movies, online micro-dramas, and online animation, and designing and using the "Online Drama Distribution License", all of which bring the creation, production, and dissemination of online dramas onto a path of legalization. The notice of strengthening the management of online micro-dramas was issued, defining the concept of micro-drama, specifying duration, reiterating the management stipulations on platforms and content, etc., and planning for the top-level design and full-process management to enhance the creative level of micro-dramas.


VII. Form a Correct Understanding of the Complex Situation and Severe Challenges Facing the Development of Audiovisual New Media


Due to certain unfavorable factors, audiovisual new media institutions are under significant operational pressure, adopting a retrenchment strategy by laying off staff, lowering costs, and reducing investments to decrease the extent of losses. However, while "saving" is critical, it is more important to "create new sources of income" by continuously exploring new business models. The comprehensive governance of the internet has become more pressing, necessitating innovation in the management system of audiovisual new media. Using the rule of law and legal methods, we should elevate the modernization level of audiovisual new media governance, strengthen systematic governance, legal governance, comprehensive governance, and source governance to promote the formation of a better audiovisual new media ecosystem. The struggle of international public opinion is becoming more intense. Unilateralism, isolationism, and protectionism stirred up by some countries in the world are resurging, penetrating, and attacking China in terms of ideological public opinion. In fulfilling the task requirements of clarifying errors, discerning right from wrong, showcasing images, and consolidating cohesion, audiovisual new media should "charge forward" and play its unique role.


VIII. Audiovisual New Media Is Facing Three Major Opportunities


The first is the transition of media integration to a new phase, entering the era of intelligent media. Currently, as the internet enters the 3.0 era, it presents both challenges and opportunities for audiovisual new media. The "Four Full" media (including "full-process, holographic, all-staff, and comprehensive efficiency") is continuously accelerating its evolution, and the initial results of deep media integration are becoming apparent. However, when weighed against the high-quality requirements of full media construction, a noticeable discrepancy still exists. Traditional media and existing media must accelerate the deep integration of media, fully march into the new field of audiovisual, realize the combined and integrated dissemination of large, medium, and small screens, meet user demands for cross-screen, cross-domain, cross-network, cross-terminal seamless connection services, and expedite the construction of a full media communication system in the new era.


Second, the new wave of the information revolution brings about revolutionary changes in technology routes and breakthrough innovations in production modes. Culture and technology accelerate their in-depth integration. Under the influence of the new generation of information technology, the production and communication methods in the audiovisual new media field have undergone profound changes, bringing new opportunities to audiovisual new media work. New technologies will accelerate penetration and integrated application in all aspects of audiovisual production and communication, from digital production and intelligent management in creative production to one-click generation and distribution in publicity and communication, empowering the modernization of the audiovisual new media industry, promoting industry transformation towards "digitalization and intelligence," and facilitating the construction of a modern audiovisual full-industry chain development pattern.

Third, the production of pan-knowledge content and the construction of learning platforms have become important opportunities for audiovisual new media to create new cultural positions. Currently, pan-knowledge content and learning platform construction has emerged as a vital approach for cultivating new cultural peaks. Online audiovisual pan-knowledge fields and learning platforms are gaining growing prominence in the cultural development process.


(Project Team from the Development Research Center of the NRTA, Authors: Wang Yu, Suo Donghui)

Supervisor: Yang Mingpin

Rotating Editor-in-Chief: Peng Jin

Post-editing: Suo Donghui


Host Units: State Administration of Radio and Television   China Media Group   Shanghai Municipal People's Government

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