Show & Tell Series: Content Licensing in China

Apr 20, 2022

Digital Catapult Show & Tell Event

24 March 2022: Content Licensing in China

As part of the Audience of the Future Global Business Innovation Programme, Digital Catapult delivered a Show & Tell session on Content Licensing for Chinese platforms and partners. The goal was for the UK companies on the Programme to understand how they could take a first step into the Chinese market. Topics covered included overcoming regulations, the Chinese audience preferences and the importance of collaboration with local partners.

Watch the recording below and read on for more details on the speakers and the key takeaways from the discussion.

The session was moderated by Maddalena Crosti at Digital Catapult and included presentations from:

Philip Morris – Tencent Cloud

75% of games being played in China are on the Tencent Cloud service provider. Philip spoke about the gaming markets and opportunities in China and the need to commit time and patience to the process of entering the Chinese market. There are many regulations and geo-political considerations, but companies should innovate through these challenges.

Jingshu Chen – VeerVR

Veer distributes XR content to a mass Chinese audience via their proprietary Online VR content channel, other online platforms as well as their own VR Cinema Chain. Jingshu spoke about the LBE market in China, which is big but very fragmented, both from a venue perspective and from an audience perspective. Jinghsu outlined the distribution deals one can expect to obtain in China as well as the genres that are currently making the most revenue.

Danielle Giroux – Astrea Immersive

Astrea is a French company that has a lot of experience in publishing and distributing XR content in China. Danielle spoke about the importance of developing personal relationships with Chinese partners, such as Veer and Sandman Studios. Astrea started this in 2018, when they localised and distributed Gloomy Eyes in partnership with Veer. Through the case study, Danielle spoke about the type of deals that an XR creator can expect in China – from LBE distribution to porting to online platforms such as Pico, Huawei and newcomers such as iQyi. Relationships with these headset providers are also very important for entering the market.

Key Takeaways

The talks were followed by a discussion facilitated by Maddalena Crosti at Digital Catapult, in which UK businesses asked specific advice about whether their content could be distributed in China (from multi-player games to AR Story Trails).

1. You have to invest in the process of entering the market. Accept the geo-political, regulatory and censorship challenges – restrictions give you the opportunity to innovate. The process can be painful, take a long time and require continuous adaptation – but yield lucrative results.

2. Local partners are crucial to successful distribution. It’s important to develop these relationships and work collaboratively as the Chinese market is complex.

3. Content will most likely need to be localised in terms of language and sensitive content. Creators often use Chinese actors and influencers to voice the translation. This can be a very successful marketing strategy.

4. There are many different types of LBE locations in China such as Museums, Arcades, Shopping Malls and Tourist attractions. Companies such as Veer in China provide a solution for creators to be able to distribute in all these locations.

5. A typical narrative XR content distribution journey starts at film festivals, then moves on to LBE cinema as well as various online platforms such as Pico, iQiyi (a new headset player) and Huawei.

6. There are huge opportunities for Social VR games in China due to the amount of arcades in the country. On the other hand AR, especially geo-located AR, is a bit more challenging at the moment as China does not use Google maps, which causes a technical hurdle.

About the Digital Catapult ‘Show & Tell’ Series

For the past few years, Digital Catapult has been running a programme to support the Audience of the Future demonstrators in collaboration with UKRI. The programme includes support such as brokering discounts on software licenses, acquiring free computing power, running collaborative workshops, and conducting research. One of the goals of this programme is to facilitate co-working and shared learning amongst the demonstrator consortia.

Aligned with this, during the second lockdown in March, the Digital Catapult team decided to experiment and run webinars using the Show & Tell format. A wider audience of award winners from Audience of the Future as well as the Creative Clusters was included. In fact, we wanted to encourage broader networking which was especially important during that time of isolation.

The Show & Tell events feature speakers from the immersive industry followed by a facilitated discussion. They are formatted around specific topics, which are for the most part community curated. A section in the registration form is dedicated to proposing a future topic and indicating interest in being a speaker.

By the time the sixth Show & Tell event in January 2022 came around, the Digital Catapult team felt it was appropriate to record and publish these events as the content is informative and thought provoking and useful to current and future industry stakeholders.

Show & Tell events

Below is a list of speakers and topics explored in previous Show & Tell series:

Show & Tell #1 (5 March 2021)

Topic(s): Inclusive Design: Practices and Lessons Learned, Inclusive Design: Building from Individuality, Drawing on drawing: An exploration of the study of drawing without the visual channel.

Speaker(s): Will Humphrey (Sugar Creative), Lisa Bowers (Open University)

Show & Tell #2 (27 March 2021)

Topic(s): The UK at Home Audience for Virtual and Augmented Reality

Speaker(s): Aki Jarvinen, Digital Catapult

Show & Tell #3 (30 April 2021)

Topic(s): Digital Humans: Embodiment and Creation, Introduction to Metahuman Creator, Using Virtual Humans to Develop Real Human Skills

Speaker(s): Jamie Mossahebi (Epic Games), Ruth Hill and Chris Mallet (BodySwaps)

Show & Tell #4 (18 June 2021)

Topic(s): Immersive Audio: Interactivity and Tools, Non-verbal Interaction in Virtual Reality, VASAR

Speaker(s): Non-verbal Interaction in Virtual Reality

Show & Tell #5 (16 July 2021)

Topic(s): Commercialisation: Entering New Markets, Bringing Dislectek to Market, Straddling multi B2B Markets

Speaker(s): Ally Low (Lowtek Games), Ben Sainsbury (Marion Surgical / AoTF PIIC)

Show & Tell #5 (16 July 2021)

Topic(s): Commercialisation: Entering New Markets, Bringing Dislectek to Market, Straddling multi B2B Markets

Speaker(s): Ally Low (Lowtek Games), Ben Sainsbury (Marion Surgical / AoTF PIIC)

Show & Tell #6 (21 January 2022)

Topic(s): Licensing Immersive Content, Licensing Someone Else’s IP, Building an Immersive Distribution Pipeline: Monetisation through Publishing and Exhibitions

Speaker(s): Alex Winterbotham (experienced freelance producer), Danielle Giroux (Astrea Immersive)

Summary and recording:

Show & Tell #7 (28 January 2022)

Topic(s): Archiving Immersive Creative Content

Speaker(s): Joanna Norman and Kate Bailey (V&A Museum), Aki Jarvinen (Digital Catapult)

Summary and recording:

Show & Tell #8 (24 March 2022)

Topic(s): Content Licensing in China

Summary and recording: See above

Speaker(s): Philip Morris (Tencent Cloud), Jingshu Chen (VeerVR) & Danielle Giroux (Astrea Immersive)

Main image photo by Li Yang on Unsplash