Taiwanese Drama Hits Global Market

By Hsu Yu-shan(許毓珊), Liu Chia-yu(劉家瑜)

Public Television Service Foundation(公視)has produced many good quality dramas that won Golden Bell Awards. This year, The Teenage Psychic(通靈少女)it jointly produced with HBO (Home Box Office Asia) gained a new audience in Taiwanese society. The Teenage Psychic is also popular worldwide. How can a Taiwanese television station produce a drama with an international television so successfully?

Public Television Service Foundation usually produces one-act drama with about 6 episodes. Photo/ Hsu Yu-shan (許毓珊)

Hu Xin-ping (胡心平), deputy director of Public Television Service’s Marketing Department, said, “Every episode of The Teenage Psychic is about 45 minutes. We made a long-time discussion with HBO Asia (Home Box Office Asia) about what is the topic that we wanted to address: is it the coming-of-age of young girls or the temple culture, or is it about supernatural powers?” Marketing to 23 areas that have different culture and languages, how to find the common theme that can be accepted by people in all these 23 areas? Public Television Service spent lots of time discussing with HBO Asia about these questions.

How to let the foreigners accept the Taiwanese drama? Take Korean drama W(兩個世界)for example, the Olympic opening and medical issues are the cross-cultural elements that Westerners can understand easily. “Drama is like a social movement, Shaudi Wang(王小棣)director of The Teenage Psychic,” said. Wu Chih-yu(巫知諭), writer/ researcher and producer of the “Guess who?” Program Department of Public Television Service Foundation said that they want to transfer the positive value and put some criticism(批判性)into their dramas. Not only love story, but more things that can represent nowadays Taiwanese conditions and specific topics have been expressed in the plot.

How did Public Television Service Foundation and HBO Asia promote The Teenage Psychic? They used many ways to give this drama high publicity, such as issuing press releases regularly, posting ads on the bus stations and visiting campuses to make students know about the drama. The production team advertised this drama to some students majoring in drama and  theater, as many of them desire to know how a young director had cooperated with an international production team.

Taiwanese temple culture is abundant in The Teenage Psychic. Photo/ Hsu Yu-shan (許毓珊)。

On the other hand, HBO is a cable television, which held activities to help promote The Teenage Psychic. The production team also published the story in monthly magazines to increase exposure. “We had been raising the profile of The Teenage Psychic for about 10 months before it was released, we also expected our publicity period will last until the end of May this year,” said Hu. They will watch the big data after every promotional campaign ended, in order to understand audiences’ preference and the effects of the campaigns. When it comes to the plan of cooperation with an international company, Wu said it will be a trend that more and more Taiwanese TV companies follow. They want to try to cooperate with Netflix(網飛), a company that offers the service of DVD renting in many countries.