The biggest movies on China's version of TikTok aren't coming from Hollywood
Now that ByteDance's short video app Douyin has movies and TV shows, users are streaming a lot of Chinese romantic dramas, comedic talkshows and action movies
Hollywood is not so hot in China, at least according to a newly released ranking of TV series, variety shows and films on Douyin, the mainland Chinese version of TikTok, which showed that Chinese romantic dramas, comedic talkshows and action movies were of most interest to users.
Maoyan Entertainment, China’s largest movie ticket platform, released the rankings for user interest in films, TV series and variety shows on Saturday. The rankings, updated daily at noon, are based on data provided by the app, including how influential the film’s official account is on Douyin and how many people searched for the film, Maoyan Entertainment said.
Love of Thousand Years, Skate Into Love and Winter Begonia, all Chinese romantic dramas released this year, were the top three most popular TV series among users from Monday to Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Day Day Up, a long-running talk show using humor to convey traditional Chinese values, was the most popular in the category of variety shows, followed by comedy competition Joyful Comedians and dating game show If You Are the One.
The only foreign title among the top three in any category was American action film F9 – alternatively known as Fast & Furious 9 – which was the second-most popular movie after Chinese fantasy thriller Mojin: The Dragon Ridge and ahead of Chinese romantic comedy Oversize Love. Mojin: The Dragon Ridge shares the same Chinese name as TV series Candle in the Tomb: The Lost Caverns, and both are based on a novel by Tianxia Bachang.
Douyin, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, is China’s hottest short video app, reporting 400 million daily active users in January.
Like its international version TikTok, Douyin is best-known for its bite-sized, 15-second clips of users pulling goofy stunts or lip-synching to music. But with China’s cinemas hit hard by closures and quarantine measures during the coronavirus pandemic, it has been moving to expand its offerings to include full-length films.
Last month, Douyin announced that it had made around 100 full-length feature films including the The Last Emperor and Farewell My Concubine available for streaming on the app.
Chinese cinemas were forced to close due to the spread of the coronavirus in late January, stymieing the growth of what was on track to become the world’s No 1 film market this year. Cinemas were allowed to reopen two months later in late March, but cinema-goers’ joy was short-lived as authorities ordered closures again just a week later, after a locally transmitted case was found in Zhejiang.
Amid this difficult environment, some films have skipped theatrical releases to go straight to streaming. Huanxi Media’s highly anticipated holiday film Lost in Russia premiered on Douyin and other ByteDance platforms. ByteDance agreed to pay the media company 630 million yuan (US$90.8 million) to stream the Lunar New Year family flick, as well as other films and TV dramas.
Maoyan Entertainment’s ranking will provide important information for those within the film industry to understand interest from Douyin users in films and television programs, so that they can promote their work in an effective way, a spokesman for the movie ticket platform said. ByteDance did not immediately respond to a request for comment.