The 12-episode show has been viewed 2.68 billion times by Sunday when the final episode was streamed. The title of the show has been among the most-searched key words in the topic-ranking service of Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, for the past two months. The news about the program as well as the social, cultural and commercial discussions it involves have made headlines across the nation, while hip-pop terms like “freestyle”, “diss” and “battle” have become buzzwords in the county’s social media platforms.
Hip-pop, the music genre originated from a black street culture in the United States, has remained a foreign import known only to small group of die-hard fans in China for the past two decades. But the show by iQIYI has struck a chord with China’s younger generation who embraces individualism embodied by the rappers, their music as well as their look and dress.
“Original content production and distribution are at the core of iQIYI strategy,” said Gong Yu, founder and CEO of iQIYI.
“Innovation at a video streaming service provider like iQIYI should not be only about technology, but also has much to do with content production and business model. As far as contents are concerned, we need to turn them into as many products or services as possible which we can monetize.”
The success of The Rap of China has helped raise the company’s profile and brought huge online traffic to iQIYI, which is seeking to nurture an online ecosystem embracing all elements across the spectrum of entertainment, which include shows, online games, live streaming, e-commerce, VR, online literature and online communities for fans.
iQIYI has put the show’s slogan “Rising! Chinese Hip-pop” or “R!CH” into a trademark and developed more than 200 lines of merchandise covering from clothes, accessories, earphones to cell phone cases and VR goggles.
Meanwhile, the company has invited star rappers from the program to the live concert, Screaming Night 2017, it sponsored in Beijing in mid-August to thrill local hop-pop fans. Internet users are also encouraged to vote for their favorite rappers via Qixiu, a live streaming service affiliated with iQIYI, and fans can enter lucky draws held in Paopao, the online fans community of iQIYI, for tickets to the finals of the program or meet their favorite rappers at off-line gatherings.
Gong said that iQIYI will continue to strive to produce premium content and build up the content-centered ecosystem with the vision to become “a great entertainment company powered by technology innovation”.
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