BEIJING – Interactive programming is red-hot in the Chinese TV market right now and teens are flocking to watch “Sufei’s Diary,” the local adaptation of the Portuguese Web format “Sofia’s Diary.”
The 40-episode multiplatform skein follows an 18-year-old girl adjusting to a new life in Shanghai where she has moved to go to college. It is proving a big hit in China, home to nearly 300 million webizens and where teens seem to spend more time talking or texting each other on their cellphones than in person.
Skein blends online and alternative media in the story – there are weekly online polls to help Sufei make decisions about what to do next, and the outcome of the poll is incorporated into the storyline of the next episode.
“Sufei’s Diary” is aired on popular portals such as Sina.com or the online video-sharing site Youku.com as well as nationwide university broadband network, Cernet.com. As well as social-networking websites, “Sufei’s Diary” is also shown on TV screens in some of China’s major airports and will play on screens in public buses and subway stations in Beijing and Shanghai.
Viewers can also interact using blogs, online comments and through updates on their cell phones. There have been 15.3 million hits since its debut in mid-December.
“Sufei’s Diary” is produced by Huaso, a joint venture between Sony Pictures Television (SPTI) and China Film Group. The format is hailed as a breakthrough in making money out of interactive TV — skein involves close collaboration with advertisers to integrate branding into the Chinese adaptation of a global multiplatform format — Sufei uses a pink Sony Vaio, Clinique for her acne and uses the job-hunting website http://www.51job.com.
“This is Huaso’s first digital series and our experimentation with multiple platforms has proven to be an effective way to target the tech-savvy youth market. We believe the show is not only entertaining, but the level of interaction offered by the show towards our advertising partners’ brands is something which cannot be replicated by traditional television programs. That is why we are already talking to advertisers at this early stage about innovative brand integrations for season two of the show,” said Mary Chan, SPTI’s vice prexy of production.
The format was created by Portuguese studio BeActive as “Sofia’s Diary” in 2003 and became a global phenomenon with local adaptations in the US, Germany, Turkey, Brazil, Chile, Vietnam and Blighty. The Chinese version of Sofia’s Diary can be seen on the official website http://www.sufei.tv.