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April 2, 2020

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Children’s viewing tastes are changing

Shanghai’s cultural production companies are adapting to new market trends and viewer habits after previous programs were put on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Shanghai Left Pocket Animation Studio Ltd has been quick to adapt to the changing viewing habits of children and middle school students.

“We have found that emerging demands such as online education and extracurricular lessons offers us an extra channel to distribute our work,” said Yu Xin, founder and CEO.

One of its latest productions, a 40-episode nature series, was launched on the teenagers’ section of videostreaming site Youku after just two months in production.

Previously, planning, production and distribution of an animation series could take from a year to 18 months but with the restrictions on commercial collaboration, the company is shifting focus to smaller productions which take only months.

Left Pocket was founded in 2012 and has focused on original animation and cartoon production as well as commissioned works from other companies.

Overseas trade conferences, cartoon festivals, development of derivatives and even potential business collaborations have been put on hold amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

“We’ve learned that there’s a high demand for natural elements as children are told to stay at home so we will leverage our existing figures to create new topics and new formats,” Yu said.

More series featuring scientific topics, painting lessons and children’s songs are also being developed.

More than 90 percent of its 100 plus staff in Shanghai have returned to work.

The increase in paid digital content and the popularity of online courses gave the company fresh opportunities to expand its offerings in video and audio formats.

“It brings us more monetization and commercial possibilities under these special circumstances and we’re actively learning from feedback from our audience,” Yu said.

Shanghai last week unveiled a three-year plan to foster the digital economy as it seeks economic transformation to bolster and meet new consumption formats and innovative technology.

The city is home to audiobook platform Ximalaya FM and livestreaming site Bilibili, which also offer online audio and video education content as well as leisure activities.


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