At a party-cum-presentation in Singapore on Thursday the five-year-old company said that next year it will release shows “Light: The Series,” “Boys Like Boys,” “Papa & Daddy: The Animation,” and “First Note of Love,” which it described as all “exciting original IPs with cross-industry partnerships.” It will also upload a second season of award-winning “Fragrance of the First Flower.”
BL is typically softcore gay romance featuring attractive young men. As such it is watched by the LGBT community, but also has a significant fan following among older Asian women. Thailand, Japan, Korea and Taiwan have become production strongholds for BL content, with some 200 shows produced in Asia in 2022, according to GagaOOLala.
More could be on the way. Taiwan was the first market in Asia to allow same sex marriages in 2019, helping production to flourish. Now the government-backed creative industry organization TAICCA is actively investing in and supporting the niche that Taiwan has helped to foster.
Acknowledging TAICCA and Portico’s roles, Sammi Pan, producer at Yoiisz Studio, said, “We hope to use our many years of experience in film and TV to communicate with other creators and understand the current state of the market, so that we can develop and produce high-quality content for traditional theater release as well as online streaming.”
In recent months Singapore’s government has repealed Section 377A, officially decriminalizing sex between men. In an interview with Variety this week Asia TV Forum organizer Yeow Hui Leng, said that “BL content is going strong [..] given its appeal and commercial potential on the global market.”
“Founded in 2017, GagaOOLala has gradually expanded worldwide to become Taiwan’s first home-grown streaming service with truly global reach. Right now, our catalogue contains more than 1,600 titles of queer content, and we’ve produced and sold more than 60 original titles. As of 2022, we have more than 2.5 million members, as well as partnerships with 30 other streaming services,” said Jay Lin, CEO of Portico Media and founder of GagaOOLala, at the Singapore event. “We’ve accomplished great things and won attention across Taiwan, Asia, and the world.”
The current year has been a year of unprecedented growth for GagaOOLala. In a presentation, it showed a 96% increase in the registrations on its platform, over one million monthly active users and a 218% rise in total watch time. Paying subscribers, originating from 191 territories, doubled. And the company showed that it is not simply an Asian phenomenon. Five of its top ten subscription origins are outside Asia, with the U.S. its number one market. The U.K. ranks fourth, Germany sixth.