Our Privacy Statement & Cookie Policy

By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies, revised Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can change your cookie settings through your browser.

I agree

Chinese streaming service sees U.S. downloads soar


 , Updated 16:05, 04-Jan-2024

Eye-catching titles, storylines featuring intense emotions and fast-moving plots... ReelShort, a streaming service launched in 2022 in the United States by Crazy Maple Studio, is pioneering a business model that has proven very successful in China. The app has seen a remarkable boom in the number of downloads in the U.S. in recent months. It even made headlines in November 2023 when it overtook TikTok to become the top-ranking entertainment download on Apple's App Store.


Founded in the U.S. with its main investment from the Chinese digital publisher COL Group, Crazy Maple Studio aims to bring fictional narratives to life through a mix of animation, music, sound effects and distinctive gameplay. Its ReelShort app offers vertical videos tailored for smartphones, with each episode lasting under two minutes.

Targeting female audiences, the miniseries, or "mobisode," revolves around romance, revenge and werewolf stories. Every miniseries consists of around 60 episodes. After watching six episodes for free, users can unlock new episodes by watching ads or by paying directly.

The app has seen a surge in downloads, logging more than 4 million per month to date. Speaking of the success of the application in the U.S., Jia Yi, CEO of Crazy Maple Studio claimed this innovative approach has reduced production costs and enabled the adaptation of popular stories into miniseries. "ReelShort, as a platform for miniseries, is special not only because of its one-minute vertical storytelling mode. I believe the most revolutionary aspect is that it significantly reduces the cost of streaming content production. We have managed to reduce the entire cost to below $300,000, or even lower. This revolutionary change has unexpectedly enabled many fans and small studios to create what they consider to be good work," Jia explained.

A screenshot from the official website of ReelShort taken on January 3, 2024 /CGTN
A screenshot from the official website of ReelShort taken on January 3, 2024 /CGTN

A screenshot from the official website of ReelShort taken on January 3, 2024 /CGTN

ReelShort has a fully integrated in-house production and marketing department, where it has the ultimate aim to set a high industry standard. With that, good stories are the key to engagement. And as Jia put it, "A good story, for us, is defined by its contagiousness, as it must be able to spread. Our stories are geared towards mass entertainment, so contagiousness is the primary requirement. To achieve this goal, we are continuously exploring better ways to make a story more popular in the market."

Miniseries have been popular in China for years. However, Chinese digital publishers are still in the process of establishing themselves as major players in the international entertainment industry. To maintain the long-term viability of this new business model, Yang Chenghu, deputy dean of the School of Arts and Communication at Beijing Normal University, said companies needed to pay attention to two aspects.

"Firstly, the audience may become fatigued by recurring themes and experience a sense of monotony. Secondly, I believe that if Chinese-style miniseries are to make a global impact, we must dedicate ourselves to enhancing both the content and the narrative," Yang explained.

He added that he believed superior content was the key to transcending boundaries. "We cannot limit ourselves to crafting narratives exclusively relevant to Chinese audiences. So, if we aspire to creating international miniseries, we must adopt a global perspective and tell stories that resonate with young people worldwide," as he put it.

Search Trends