“When it comes to quality of reality shows, internet companies are really closing in on or have even surpassed their TV counterparts,” Chulin Luo, who has been on the production crew of several Chinese blockbuster TV shows, recently told TechNode.
This past summer, millions of young Chinese spent their Saturdays rallying for their favorite rappers from The Rap of China.
Moreover, it’s produced and streamed exclusively by iQIYI, the online video platform owned by Chinese search giant Baidu.
The craze for the rap reality show then turned into 2.6 billion views for the 12 episodes and 6.8 billion views of the hashtag for The Rap of China on Weibo (in Chinese), iQIYI claims.
iQIYI, for example, shelled out over 250 million RMB (about $38 million) for The Rap of China and nabbed two highly respected TV veterans: Chen Wei, who produced the popular singing contest The Voice of China at Zhejiang Television, and Che Che, who directed So You Think You Can Dance China for Star China Media.
Like most other markets, the battle in China’s online video space has become a proxy war for the internet trinity of BAT—Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent.