TikTok: “Piracy” of movies and TV series has a rather unexpected effect, find out which one


Researchers at Peking University examined the impact of short, informal clips posted on the Chinese version of TikTok, known as Douyin. Although media companies often view such activities as copyright infringement, the study concluded that: these pieces can actually serve as effective promotional trailers.

The study analyzed the pivotal period in April 2021, when Chinese entertainment companies protested Douyin over the mass sharing of unlicensed TV footage. This led to a massive removal campaign of over 500,000 “pirated” videos. Using this incident as an experiment, The researchers tracked the impact of removing the clips on streaming figures for the same television shows on the popular Chinese platform iQIYI.

The findings of the study bring with them some warnings. For example, shows with more complex narratives, such as crime dramas and fantasy epics, have made greater use of TikTok promotional clips rather than traditional romantic storylines. Highly rated dramas also had higher viewership numbers than poorly received dramas.

Researchers hypothesize that: the condensed clips provide just enough hook to capture interest without disrupting the complex plots of compelling shows. On the other hand, in romance novels and simpler sitcoms, quotes run the risk of revealing the full experience, reducing their promotional value.

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