Online Fiction Driving Entertainment in China

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A recent article in the WSJ talks about how online fiction has grown in popularity. These serialized books are being monetized, for a small amount each chapter, but the total cost can end up being larger than the printed book.

More importantly, these books are being adapted into TV, Games and Feature films:

Some of the top TV series, movies and games last year were adaptations of popular online novels, such as the fantasy drama “The Journey of Flower,” in which a god and a goddess who were destined to kill each other became lovers in their afterlives.

Such series took top spots in TV ratings and generated billions of streams on video websites. “The Journey of Flower,” which aired on China’s top entertainment channel, Hunan TV, ranked No. 2 nationally in 2015, and garnered over 20 billion streams on big video websites. A videogame based on the novel took in nearly 200 million yuan ($29.9 million) in the first month after its launch.

Our own project, Lost in Kunlun, is also this kind of project. The serialized novel as only appeared online, however the author has been read hundreds of millions of time, mostly in China. The TV adaptation has just been sold for a record-breaking 10m RMB per episode. We are currently in development of the feature film.

Rhizome is extending this business model into the west. We are not just focusing on the film adaptation. Instead, we are creating strategies to extend the underlying book IP into a coordinated series of media dimensions, including publishing, games, apps, tv, film and ancillary revenues.