Internet fuels innovation for China’s film and television products

Photo taken on August 21, 2019, shows visitors at the 28th Beijing International Radio, TV and Film Exhibition, which displayed 4K/8K ultra-high-definition production technology, 5G transmission and development trends, progress in media convergence, AI, cloud computing, big data and other new technologies. (Photo by Guo Junfeng/People's Daily Online)

China’s film and television industry has been deeply integrated with the internet in recent years. While online video platforms have become an important channel for the broadcasting of films and TV programs, film and television products also constitute a major part of the content on internet platforms.


The application of internet thinking and technologies is profoundly altering the forms of presentation, creative ideas and production practice of film and television art, and big data mining has proven effective in the development of film and television projects.


With the help of quantitative analysis of various types of big data, film and television makers are able to gain insights into the demands of the market, create a portrait of the target audience, determine the purpose and theme of products, optimize scripts, decide the style of images, music and editing, and find suitable directors and actors.


In The Longest Day in Chang’an, a famous web series in China, the actor playing the leading role “Zhang Xiaojing” was selected using artificial intelligence (AI) and big data based on comprehensive evaluation of the looks of actors, their resemblance to the role, as well as their performance in previous works.


Many online platforms have introduced intelligent script evaluation systems, which could automatically use a curve to show the development of the plots and conflicts in a script, and help verify whether the story has been appropriately designed.


It is a routine for many film and television projects to formulate targeted and differentiated communication strategies based on the characteristics of users.


Compared with television broadcasting, internet platforms can better recommend individualized film and television content to users according to their ages, genders, regions, and occupations.


Relevant technologies, which enable platforms to bring content to users with the help of algorithm and save users the trouble of searching for content, have been widely adopted, particularly by short video platforms.


Meanwhile, online film and television products are increasingly integrated with literature, education, e-commerce, cultural tourism, games and other fields.


The Chinese web series Cross Fire showed close interactions with a game with the same name; Once Upon A Bite, a popular food docuseries in China, has joined hands with brands from various sectors; Chinese short video platforms, such as Douyin and Kuaishou, have added functions to their apps to allow users to place orders for goods while watching videos. Such crossover cooperation helps film and television industry further extend the industrial chain.


Internet platforms are also able to monitor the broadcasting of film and television content throughout the entire process and provide feedback for content reproduction.


Online platforms can collect data from users in real time, and adjust the content layout timely through the viewing behaviors of users such as searching, fast forwarding and rewinding, and adjusting the pace up or down, and their evaluation shown by bullet screens, ratings, comments, and forwarding.


Internet means and information technology are supposed to support, instead of deciding, the development of film and television industry.


It is necessary to stay alert to and prevent artistic production that depends merely on technology, data, and market while ignoring the rules of literary and artistic creation.


With the deepening application of 5G, AI, cloud computing and other technologies, traditional film and television industry will be upgraded toward more intelligent production, and witness systematic improvement in the production mechanism, organizational structure, and process tools, which makes it more important to make good use of the internet to bring about development opportunities and innovation drivers for the industry.


 (Zhu Chuanxin is a professor at the School of Theater, Film, and Television under the Communication University of China.)

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