This story appears in the October 2020 issue of Television Asia Plus.
Taipei-based Studio76 has been enjoying the success of its recently-released titles in 2020, such as the thriller 76 Horror Bookstore: Tin Can of Fear, the youth basketball drama Fly The Jumper, and most recently, the crime investigation story, Kill For Love.
The Taiwanese IP production company, which is headed by CEO and Founder Dennis Yang, aims to produce no less than 30 original titles in the next three years. The company specialises in making original web movies, short dramas, and mini-TV series that are targeted at young audiences and Asia’s robust online video sector.
Before establishing Studio76 in 2018, Dennis served as the Chief Content Officer and Vice President of Taiwanese SVOD service KKTV. The company experimented in producing its own short, genre-driven original titles, which were 100 minutes long and chopped into eight episodes aired twice a week. One mini-series took as little as four weeks to complete, and this was a model that has never been done in Taiwan.
Studio76 is born
Realising that a 15-minute episode show is easier to watch in one go compared to a 90-minute drama, Dennis concluded that the formula was good and thought about creating more short-format episodes. Dennis shared, “We realised that this cannot be done inside a service and that it has spun-off as a separate company to make a volume of this short mini-drama.”
Seeing the wealth and potential of talent in Taiwan, Dennis said, “If you look at the talents surrounding us, there are many good scriptwriters, freelance producers, actors, and actresses. They have a good story to pitch and are looking for short projects in between movie projects. We said, ‘Hey, this might be a good opportunity for us to create something at a much bigger scale.’”
Studio76 is backed by Taiwan’s National Development Fund for Cultural Content Investment Projects together with other investors. The company operates as the main showrunner and develops intellectual property, allowing them to cultivate up-and-coming talent in scriptwriting, directing, and acting.
Running on a different business model compared to mainstream TV productions, Studio76 pools its funds from various investors, which go into the production of its short dramas and TV series. For 76 Horror Bookstore: Tin Can of Fear, one of the investors that Studio76 worked with was Taiwan Mobile which has an OTT video service called myVideo. Meanwhile, for the company’s second title, Fly The Jumper, Dentsu Aegis Network Taiwan joined as one of the co-producers of the show together with Taiwan Mobile.
Taiwan and beyond
Currently, Studio76 is focused on releasing content aimed at the Taiwanese and Chinese audiences. Other traditional Chinese markets they are planning to tap include Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.
Dennis revealed that two other interesting markets that they would love to study and work on would be Japan and Korea. He commented, “These two are very sophisticated and the size of the market itself is big enough and there is a growing appetite for Chinese content.”
Apart from producing Chinese content, Studio76 plans to explore English content in the future and said that they are open to co-production ideas. However, whilst the company is still in its early years, the focus right now is on the Taiwanese and the Chinese market.
With Studio76 well on its way to producing its target of no less than 30 original titles in the next three years, the company has expanded to two development teams who are each developing more content. Dennis revealed that they have been aggressively entering script competitions and plan to run regional ones in 2021 with major partners.
Dennis said, “We received 431 all-original scripts mostly in Chinese for movies and TV dramas which are sent from all over the world. We are overwhelmed but happy that we need to screen those scripts in the coming weeks.”
“It’s still a long way to go to make it into a production script but you can see that there are good stories and concepts from Taiwan. Not to forget that in Taiwan, more than a thousand books are being published in a year, so there’s a story pool if you look at the books and publishing market,” he added.
Looking into the future of short video formats, Dennis believes that there will be more good stories coming that relate to the daily life of Asians. He revealed plans of producing a digital movie and a mini-series which comprise six to eight episodes that have a running time of 30 to 60 minutes. He said, “Studio76 is an IP development company. We are not a production house. I’m more into, ‘How can I tell a compelling a story, and what is the best format to tell that?’”
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