WorldScreenings: Tencent Video


A leading online video streaming platform in China, Tencent Video currently counts some 125 million subscribers. Five years ago, armed with a sizable children’s programming slate, the platform decided to produce its own original content for kids.

“While we have an extensive content library and continue to acquire the best programs from others, we were excited by the possibility to develop our own innovative and engaging content to help children learn and grow while entertaining them, and were inspired by the ever-increasing pool of brilliant creative talent in China,” says Selina She, director of the kids’ IP development and programming center at Tencent Video. “Once we had established this domestically, the next logical step, which we took in late 2018, was to expand into collaborations with international production companies to broaden our perspectives and possibilities.”

The first fruits of these collaborations are well underway, as Tencent Video is working with creative teams at Sixteen South on The Coop Troop, Zeilt Productions on Deep in the Bowl and Luce Creative on The Adventures of Little Penguin, “three high-quality shows that we think have true global appeal,” She says.

The Coop Troop, aimed at 6- to 9-year-olds, is about an unlikely bunch of heroes on a mission to help animals in trouble. It follows the antics of four animals (and an egg), who are always up for an adventure to relieve the boredom of life in their mobile chicken coop.

Deep in the Bowl, targeting kids 8 to 12, is inspired by the popular French comic books Le Fond du Bocal by Nicolas Poupon. Integrating 3D animation with live action, the show depicts aquariums with a fantastic fishy cast whose experiences mirror children’s daily lives.

The Adventures of Little Penguin follows the antics of Oscar, a little penguin who lives in a unique environment. In each episode, Oscar sets out to explore the world, meeting new characters to teach him about himself and others.

Also on the originals slate, Monsters in the Forbidden City brings to life a world of mythical Oriental monsters. When an ordinary girl, Rain, picks up a mysterious gem in the Forbidden City, she gains access to a parallel realm where monsters, gods and spirits live in harmony. The series is produced by the Chinese animation studio Original Force.

Tencent Kids’ originals have already generated buzz in the global marketplace, selling outside their home territory. This includes Super BOOMi, which She says is “one of Asia’s most popular shows, and its appeal is beginning to spread further afield—firstly to Canada on Treehouse TV and now to Europe on Canal+ in France.” The show focuses on universal themes of the power of imagination and friendship, following as the little bear BOOMi, his dog Bibop and their best friends play and learn in a virtual reality game universe.

Produced by Chinese animation company UYoung, KungFuWa is an animated series targeting girls 6 to 9 about an ordinary girl called TZ, who finds an odd sock called Kung Fu Wa, who is a Kung Fu master from another time. By putting the sock on TZ’s foot, they transform into a superheroine—Kung Fu Girl—and together, they must complete Kung Fu Wa’s mission and follow an ancient scroll to defeat evil and protect their world.

“We believe high-quality content has enduring and engaging appeal,” says She. “Our aim through partnering with these prestigious studios is to create outstanding content, not only for audiences on Tencent Kids but also for audiences worldwide. These international co-productions allow us to work with some of the best talent in the industry and learn from them. In return, we share our deep understanding of the local market and our streaming expertise. Our team will continue to dedicate substantial resources to developing original content and literary adaptations for international co-productions. We look forward to working with more studios and experts in the future.”

Looking ahead, Tencent Video is keen to develop “high-quality content with compelling stories and engaging characters,” She says. “And this content should not only cater to the local market appetite; ideally, it should have international appeal as well.”

In addition to the content being engaging, appealing and entertaining, Tencent Video is looking for elements that help children learn and grow, from improving literacy and numeracy to assisting them in acquiring life skills. “New IP is always exciting, but we are also looking at developing literary adaptations, too, which often come with built-in fan bases,” She adds.

The expansion of its original children’s content fits in line with Tencent Video’s multiyear growth strategy, according to She. “We focus on providing quality and exclusive self-commissioned content, as this is pivotal in driving subscription growth and viewership. Our rich IP portfolio provides ample opportunities to create high-quality video content and drive synergies across different media formats—animation, drama, movie, variety show, etc. By merging the Tencent Video and Weishi teams, we have been able to upgrade our algorithmic recommendations, bring integrated viewing experiences to users and provide enriching short video clips adapted from our long-form video library. Through leveraging short video content, we, in turn, maximize the audience reach and appeal of the long-form content.”

See Tencent Video’s Summer 2021 Showcase here.