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2014-03-19    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训


Over the past couple of months, a bunch of free, HD American TV shows have started popping up on my iPad in China. Shows like Saturday Night Live, Homeland, House of Cards, and Ellen, which just struck a deal last month with Sohu.com (SOHU), one of China's Internet portals, to bring the talk show to China's potential 1.3 billion viewers. For an expat, this is bliss. For Chinese viewers, it's the newest wave of entertainment.
过去的几个月以来,身在中国的我发现,我的iPad上突然涌现出了一大堆免费的美国高清电视节目,比如《周六夜现场》(Saturday Night Live)、《国土安全》(Homeland)、《纸牌屋》(House of Cards)和《艾伦秀》(Ellen)。中国门户网站搜狐(Sohu.com)上个月刚刚与《艾伦秀》达成了一项协议,13亿中国观众从此有机会欣赏这档风靡全美的脱口秀节目。对于像我这样的外籍人士来说,这是一种幸福。对于亿万中国观众来说,这是最新一波的娱乐浪潮。

The Ellen deal got attention in late January in part because it's the first U.S. talk show to be carried in China. Also, Ellen DeGeneres said "Ni Hao!" six times while breaking the news. But her show is just one of dozens of U.S. hits to arrive in China recently. Online videos sites have spent the past two years buying rights to U.S. dramas and sitcoms in a fevered attempt to bring Lost, CSI, Breaking Bad, and others to Chinese watchers. Sohu, the Ellen buyer, has purchased the rights to more than 50 U.S. shows. Youku.com (YOKU), its bigger competitor, has added 60.
1月末达成的《艾伦秀》授权协议备受关注,部分原因是,它将成为首个在华播出的美国脱口秀节目。此外,在透露这则消息时,艾伦•德杰尼勒斯用中文说了6次“你好!”但她的节目仅仅是最近登陆中国的几十个美国电视节目之一。过去两年来,中国视频网站一直在疯狂购买美国情节剧和情景喜剧的版权,为中国观众带来了《迷失》(Lost)、《犯罪现场调查》(CSI)和《绝命毒师》(Breaking Bad)等热播剧集。《艾伦秀》的买家搜狐公司已经购买了50多部美国电视节目。它更大的竞争对手优酷网(Youku.com)购买了60部。

The Chinese online video industry is massive -- this year online ads should generate $2.95 billion in sales, according to IResearch. And now that piracy is being contained in China, the video sites are on a new buying spree. They started by acquiring Chinese and foreign content as fast as they could. Prices for shows and films skyrocketed. The video execs have started to carve out niches for themselves: Sohu has focused on "premier" U.S. fare like Ellen and The Big Bang Theory; Youku has British hits Sherlock and Downton Abbey; v.qq.com has CSI; and Iqiyi.com is focused on celebrity entertainment.
中国网络视频行业规模巨大——据艾瑞咨询公司(IResearch)估计,今年的在线广告应该会为这个行业带来约29.5亿美元的营收。由于中国的盗版现象正受到遏制,各大视频网站开始了最新一轮的抢购风潮。它们争先恐后地购买中国和海外的视频内容,推动电视节目和电影的版权价格一路高歌猛进。视频网站高管已经着手开拓各自的细分市场:搜狐一直专注于“最好的”美国电视节目,比如《艾伦秀》和《生活大爆炸》(The Big Bang Theory)等;优酷网购买了英国剧集《神探夏洛克》(Sherlock )和《唐顿庄园》(Downton Abbey)等;腾讯(v.qq.com)拥有《犯罪现场调查》的版权;爱奇艺(Iqiyi.com)则专注于名人娱乐节目。

After buying dramas and comedies, the sites are now wading into the next American genre -- live and unscripted entertainment.

Last month Saturday Night Live announced a deal, again with Sohu, to carry new shows on the site. Sohu CEO Charles Zhang said he hoped SNL would attract not just the audience they already had, but also more high school and university viewers that advertisers clamor for. He said young audiences think being a fan of American culture exhibits class and standing. Zhang spoke at a December event promoting SNL where journalists asked him how the show's cultural references would be interpreted. He didn't seem bothered: subtitles!

American TV shows account for 20% of Sohu's video clicks. Ellen falls into the same live entertainment niche as SNL and follows Sohu's formula of buying upbeat U.S. shows with tons of celebrity appearances. The deal came about after Warner Bros. Television, which distributes the show, heard interest from Sohu for Ellen as part of the site's push to take on bigger rivals Youku and Baidu's iQiyi, which recently merged in a $370 million deal with rival PPS. Ellen was a big win for the studio. "It has long been a goal to bring Ellen's unique brand of light entertainment to China," said Jeffrey Schlesinger, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution, in an email.
美国电视节目占搜狐视频点击量的20%。《艾伦秀》被归入了与《周六夜现场》相同的综艺节目类别,符合搜狐一贯的购买风格——生动活泼,有大量名人亮相的美国节目。在这项交易达成之前,这档脱口秀的分销商华纳兄弟电视集团全球分销公司(Warner Bros. Worldwide Television Distribution)听说搜狐为了对抗更大的竞争对手优酷网和爱奇艺(这家隶属于百度公司的视频网站最近斥资约3.7亿美元收购了竞争对手PPS),有意购买《艾伦秀》。对于这家制作公司来说,《艾伦秀》进入中国是一个巨大的胜利。“把《艾伦秀》独特的轻娱乐品牌带入中国是我们长期以来的目标之一,”该公司总裁杰弗里•施莱辛格在一封电子邮件中写道。

Sohu's video revenues tripled in the latest quarter, and the company continued to spend on video content and web infrastructure. But in a show of the costs involved in purchasing dozens of foreign TV shows like Ellen, Morningstar analysts don't expect the video business to turn profitable until 2015.

You get a sense for the popularity of U.S. hits the more Chinese people you talk to. Last year a couple of Chinese friends asked me out of the blue, because I'm American, "Do you know The Big Bang Theory" (Shenghuo Da Baozha)? I told them not only did I know it, but my uncle directed the show. They were shocked. It was their favorite show. Maybe I could get them some swag?

After watching a couple of shows on Sohu, you quickly understand why its video site is so successful. The interface is intuitive like Netflix's (NFLX), the ad-supported service means you don't need to fork over a credit card, and even the commercials are limited to half a dozen 12-second spots in films. Watching television episodes, I only have to sit through one 15-second ad in the beginning. The whole service feels as seamless as anything in the U.S.

That's in part why American shows will continue finding their way into China. The technology is here. The market is maturing. The audiences are huge. And viewers are beginning to demand American fare.

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