Video websites get in on the action

Updated: 2011-08-15 13:17

By Huang Ying (China Daily)

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BEIJING - With the rapid development of the Internet and the rising cost of copyright payment for TV dramas and films, video websites in China have started to make their own content and cultivate their own stars.

Shineshow Film Entertainment Company, a joint venture established by Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd and Golden Eagle Broadcasting System in November 2009, launched its first online platform, m-maker.com, in late June for micro-film creators who enjoy shooting videos or working behind the scenes.

"The platform is like a virtual Beijing Film Studio, where film tasks are released by our clients and taken by those who are interested in them," said Zhao Yurun, chief executive officer at Shineshow.

It serves as a platform for script developers, people who direct films, people who wish to be film stars, and those who undertake post-production work, Zhao added.

Micro-films are eight to 10 minutes long. Zhao classified them into two categories. One is made in accordance with individuals' creativity, and the other for commercial purposes.

M-maker.com mainly deals with the production of the latter.

Shineshow also announced its first group of cooperative partners in producing micro-films. They include Qihoo 360 Technology Co, Men's Health magazine and a domestic IT company.

Companies release their shooting plans on the website with the film's theme. The latter is usually related to a product. However, it is up to the public to decide on a story.

Qihoo 360 Technology Co has already released its first mission for a customized micro-film on m-make.com, with the keyword "unassailable". It is expected to broadcast the final product on several mainstream video media by the end of September.

"We hope that through the making of a micro-film in partnership with m-maker.com, the public's awareness of Internet security could be raised," said Qu Bing, vice-president of Qihoo 360 Technology Co.

"We are deeply convinced that a good micro-film production starts with a good story, and users of a specific brand are those who understand and love it best," said Zhao.

The platform is totally accessible to anybody with an Internet connection. Users can submit their ideas in response to a specific micro-film task. The public will then be asked to vote for the one they like best. This will become the raw material for a script.

Shineshow is not the first video website to step into the production sector. Tudou.com, one of China's leading video websites, launched its "Orange Box" plan and "No 6 Warehouse" plan for talented people in May last year. The Orange Box referred to independently created TV drama and films. Tudou.com is championing the concept of quality Internet drama to counter netizens' generally poor impressions of Internet drama.

In order to implement the two plans well, Tudou established a professional consultancy team staffed by veterans of the industry.

"Since a couple of video websites are entering the area of self-made film productions, and they are recruiting the talented people needed for producing short films or TV dramas, the talent scout will play a crucial role for these video websites," said Tang Yizhi, a video website analyst at Beijing-based Analysys International.

She added that the broadcast channels of self-made video products also matters to the websites in building their brand within the industry.

Zhao revealed at the launch ceremony that a number of mainstream video websites have expressed a willingness to be first to broadcast Shineshow's micro-films. Its maiden micro-film was released at the end of July.

In the preliminary phase, Shineshow expects a production rate of one micro-film a month. Next year it will strive for one a week.

Tang said that Shanda's big store of material, such as novels and online games, will give m-maker.com an advantage over its rivals in the market.