iQIYI Inc. (NASDAQ: IQ) ("iQIYI" or the "Company"), an innovative market-leading online entertainment service in China, today announced that more than 68 million VIP subscribers tuned in to its wildly popular Mist Theater 2020, which wrapped up on October 1 with the airing of The Long Night.
Mist Theater 2020, a content library of short suspense thrillers comprising five dramas, generated over 460 trending topics on Chinese social media platforms and scored an average rating of 8 out of 10 for the five dramas on Douban, an influential Chinese social media platform known for its movie and TV show reviews.
The high level of subscriber engagement, trending topics and rave reviews reaffirm that iQIYI is at the vanguard of shifting from the creation of singular hits to the creation of genre-based content, and, as a result, is building a huge user base and business foundation for vertical content to gain traction.
The Mist Theater showcased five suspense dramas in 2020, comprising: Kidnapping Game, The Bad Kids, Crimson River, Sisyphus and The Long Night. The first offering, Kidnapping Game, scored a rating of 8.0 after the airing of the first episode on Douban, while The Bad Kids achieved a rating of 8.9 from 800,000 Douban users, and the series finale The Long Night attained 9.1, the highest score for the Mist Theater.
iQIYI data shows that Mist Theater not only generated word-of-mouth recommendations, but also drove an increase in overall subscriber content consumption. For example, the number of subscribers that watched The Bad Kids doubled between the airing of its final episode and the wrap-up of Mist Theater.
Apart from racking up massive success at home, the Mist Theater lineup has also gained traction in overseas markets, with several dramas being distributed in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau. Kidnapping Game has aired on Singapore's leading pay-TV network Singtel TV, which is also planning to air Sisyphus and The Long Night soon. The Bad Kids will premiere in Japan next year on WOWOW, Japan's leading premium satellite TV station.
The success of iQIYI's Mist Theater and short dramas is the result of a long-standing strategy based on innovation. iQIYI formulated its short drama model and rolled out high-quality dramas like Tientsin Mystic and Burning Ice in 2017, attracting numerous viewers and positive reviews. Within three years, the rapid development of Chinese suspense dramas and streaming platforms' membership services presented an opportunity to address and overcome the commercial challenges of short drama productions and theaters' development.
iQIYI's subscribership has reached 105 million, according to the financial results for the second quarter of 2020 released on August 14, 2020. iQIYI founder and CEO Gong Yu said in the conference call with analysts, "Short dramas and long dramas are equally effective in pulling in new subscribers. Despite generating higher production costs per episode, short dramas have lower total production costs due to fewer episodes, which led to better ROI."
As for future content creation, Wang Xiaohui, President of the Professional Content Business Group (PCG) and Chief Content Officer of iQIYI said, "Short dramas have achieved very good results in terms of both viewership and the input-output ratio. In the future, iQIYI will consider more content focusing on storylines, plots and performances, and ramp up investment in the creation of short dramas."
About iQIYI, Inc.
iQIYI, Inc. is an innovative market-leading online entertainment service in China. Its corporate DNA combines creative talent with technology, fostering an environment for continuous innovation and the production of blockbuster content. iQIYI's platform features highly popular original content, as well as a comprehensive library of other professionally-produced content, partner-generated content and user generated content. The Company distinguishes itself in the online entertainment industry by its leading technology platform powered by advanced AI, big data analytics and other core proprietary technologies. iQIYI attracts a massive user base with tremendous user engagement, and has developed a diversified monetization model including membership services, online advertising services, content distribution, live broadcasting, online games, IP licensing, online literature and e-commerce.
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SOURCE iQIYI, Inc.