AM: Chapter 67
Pei Shaoze met with Mr Chen who was responsible for purchasing movies and dramas for the number one domestic video broadcasting platform to talk about the release time and purchase mode of Folding Paper.
This Mr Chen was really a man with a big smile and evil intentions. He first praised Pei Shaoze with compliments such as ‘President Pei is really young and promising.’ Then he said solemnly, “President Pei, how about a 3 million yuan buyout for Folding Paper? Our Little Bear TV is the platform with the highest number of video users in China. There are several hundred million members and stable daily activity of around 100 million. It goes without saying that the exposure rate of your drama will be high on our platform.”
Pei Shaoze drank a mouthful of tea with a calm expression. “3 million buyout? I can’t even get the investment cost back. It won’t be easy to explain to the crew.”
Mr Chen smiled and explained, “This drama isn’t a very famous IP drama and the actors are also small, unknown newcomers. My price is quite fair. I bought a few newcomer online dramas last year and none of them exceeded 2 million yuan. I only increased the price out of consideration for Tianxuan. President Pei, think of it as spending money to promote new actors. A bigger platform is good for the fame of the actors.”
Pei Shaoze put down the cup and looked at the other person. “It’s a 3 million buyout. Then Mr Chen, how do you plan to recommend it?”
The other party thought about it. “It’s naturally a classified push. Our platform has a special area for school dramas. Once the drama is released, we will put it in the most eye-catching position of the classified push. Haha, we won’t neglect Tianxuan’s drama.”
Pei Shaoze slightly smiled and stood up. “Mr Chen, I hope we get a chance to cooperate again in the future.”
Did this mean a direct refusal? Mr Chen chuckled. What high price did he want for a broken online drama with newcomers who had no reputation? There was fierce competition in the summer season. Big IP dramas had to compete for first place. There were so many stars in the circle so how much airtime could this small production get? How much attention could it attract? If he bought it for 3 million yuan then he might lose money. He really underestimated his capabilities.
Mr Chen was always smiling but it was obvious what he was thinking. Pei Shaoze didn’t bother talking to him any longer.
In the past few days, he had met the purchasing supervisors of several video broadcasting platforms. They had been polite on the surface due to Pei Shaoze’s status as president of Tianxuan but in fact, they weren’t optimistic about the drama ‘Folding Paper’. The summer competition was fierce. If they paid a high price to buy a school drama without famous actors then there really was a risk of losing money. Pei Shaoze could understand the conservative ideas of these people.
This summer, there were several big production costume dramas, xianxia dramas, and sadistic love school dramas. From the perspective of major platforms, it was almost impossible for Folding Paper to breakthrough.
However, Pei Shaoze had confidence in his own vision when picking scripts and in Cheng Xia’s performance. This was Cheng Xia’s debut work and Pei Shaoze’s first time as a producer in this world. Cheng Xia spent a lot of effort on this work. It wasn’t just reading the original novel five times or reciting the script more than ten times. He wasted thousands of pieces of paper just practicing original skills.
How could he let Cheng Xia down?
After arriving home in the evening, Pei Shaoze sat at the desk and gently rubbed his temples when thinking about the next response. Even if he had full confidence in this drama, the broadcasting platform had their own evaluation criteria. Dramas performed by unknown newcomers really couldn’t get a good price. There was no platform willing to spend more than 10 million to buy the exclusive broadcasting rights of this ‘small, unknown online drama.’
If he accepted the buyout then he wouldn’t be able to earn back the 10 million yuan he invested. Then he should take a risk and try the ‘sharing profits’ model.
In reality, many online movies used the model of ‘box office profit sharing’. The platform and producers negotiated the profit share. Online movies were cheap for users to buy and watch. They cost between 2 and 10 yuan. If the word of mouth was good then many people were willing to spend this money to buy it. The final box office revenue was divided between the platform and the manufacturer.
However, there was a big drawback to the box office profit share model. If this drama didn’t become popular then it was likely to sink through the ground and he wouldn’t even receive one million yuan. After all, there were so many free shows available online now. Who was going to buy an online drama? It was only when the plot was good enough to attract the audience that they were willing to pull out their wallets.
Pei Shaoze carefully considered it before deciding to talk to the boss of Linghu TV.
Linghu was the fourth-largest video broadcasting platform in China. The number of registered users had just exceeded 100 million which was a large gap with the top three. Therefore, apart from the big IP dramas with the ‘all platforms synchronized play’, they couldn’t grab any exclusive IPs. Such a platform would pay more attention to the recommendation of new dramas. What if one became popular? Not only could it enhance the reputation of the platform but it also helped the platform attract users.
After making up his mind, Pei Shaoze asked Zhang Fan to make an appointment with the person in charge of the platform. Coincidentally, the person responsible for purchasing sources for Linghu TV had come to Rong City for a meeting in recent days. Zhang Fan conveyed Pei Shaoze’s meaning and the other party quickly agreed to meet the next day.
Pei Shaoze took Zhang Fan and Mr Liu brought his assistant. The four people had a meal in a quiet restaurant.
Mr Liu smiled. “President Pei, are you looking for me regarding the Folding Paper drama? I heard that this drama has passed the review and it’s currently looking for a broadcasting platform.” People in the circle were really well informed. It was estimated that many people knew about Pei Shaoze’s continuous talks with the three major platforms.
Pei Shaoze said, “Mr Liu has guessed correctly. I have talked with several platforms previously but couldn’t come to an agreement. It isn’t that I’m too arrogant to accept a low buyout price. I really think this drama has the potential to be hot. A buyout of a few million is too much of a loss.”
Mr Liu, “……”
This President Pei was quite interesting. He was young and it was the first time acting as a producer. He hired actors with no fame and the director was a budding director making third-rate online dramas… where did he get this confidence?
However, Pei Shaoze’s confident eyes still infected Mr Liu. He asked with interest, “How much is your price?”
Pei Shaoze answered, “I want to try the box office profit share model.”
The other side’s eyes widened. He obviously hadn’t expected Pei Shaoze to have such an operation.
Pei Shaoze calmly explained, “I know that the box office profit share model is generally for online movies. If you buy one for several yuan then you can watch it for at least two hours. The audience of online dramas is seldom willing to spend money on dramas but we can set the price lower. It will be a small profit and quick turnover. Folding Paper has a total of 20 episodes in total. The first 10 episodes are free and the last 10 will be 0.5 yuan which adds up to 5 yuan. Those who really like the drama will be willing to spend their pocket money to support it.”
Mr Liu looked solemn. “However, if word of mouth isn’t good after the drama airs and only 100,000 people or so are willing to buy the drama then the money collected in the end will be less than one million yuan. You will lose money miserably and become a laughing stock in the circle!”
Pei Shaoze laughed. “I’ve invested 10 million in the drama but no platform is willing to take the risk of spending 10 million to buy an unknown school drama. If the profit is split then most of the risk will be borne by me. You only need to provide the platform. If it sells well then it’s a win-win for both of us. If it doesn’t sell well then you won’t lose much. After all, you don’t need to spend any yuan on this drama. You just need to give it a recommendation on the home page for a few days.”
Mr Liu frowned and fell deep into thought. Pei Shaoze saw that the other person looked somewhat relieved and continued, “Director Zhu’s work, ‘Disappearing Traces’ is also co-produced by our Tianxuan and it’s currently shooting in Ya’an Movie and Television Studio. Mr Liu should’ve heard of it?”
Mr Liu’s eyes brightened. “Word of mouth has always been very good for Director Zhu’s criminal investigation dramas. I personally love watching them!”
“If Folding Paper is a happy collaboration between us then I can give priority for the exclusive playback of Disappearing Traces for Linghu TV. Pei Shaoze seriously stared at the other person. “Mr Liu, don’t you want to find a long-term cooperation partner?”
Mr Liu, “……”
The platform really didn’t need to bear too much risk in the profit-sharing mode. It was like opening a shop and a brand placing goods on the shelves. If it sold well then the supermarket made money. If it didn’t sell well then the manufacturer would be responsible for the losses.
There was also the priority of Disappearing Traces being considered for their platform and the fact that a lead actor of the drama was scolded into the hot search on the day the drama started filming. Moreover, it was an omega actor playing the role of an alpha police officer. He could imagine how hot the topic would be. It would definitely attract a large number of onlookers at that time! In order to grab the exclusive right of Director Zhu’s drama, he was willing to try Folding Paper along the way.
Mr Liu smiled. “President Pei, what is the specific proportion of the profit share?”
“It’s our first cooperative drama. In order to show my sincerity, 60% will go to the platform and we will take 40%. Once the time comes, I hope Mr Liu gives us more recommendations. For the next drama, we can wait when the production is finished to talk about it.”
4:6. The platform got the majority and it was barely acceptable. Mr Liu thought about it carefully before nodding. “I am very happy to cooperate with President Pei. In the future, you should give the priority of your dramas to me!”
“That is natural. We will let the legal department of both sides talk about the specific contract.”
It was a pleasant meal.
After leaving the restaurant, Pei Shaoze asked Uncle Zhong to take him back to the company. On the way, Zhang Fan couldn’t help asking, “President Pei, do you want to give Disappearing Traces to them? Director Zhu’s dramas previously used to be broadcasted on Little Bear TV.”
Pei Shaoze’s lips curved up in a smile. “You have been in the circle for so long. Remember—don’t believe anything that isn’t signed and sealed.”
Zhang Fan, “……”
Sure enough, the bait presented at the negotiating table wasn’t necessarily fed to the other person’s mouth.
Zhang Fan admired President Pei’s shrewdness. He had a hunch that the drama ‘Folding Paper’ would explode. Maybe even Linghu TV would follow suit. If the new drama was broadcasted on this platform then President Pei would have the capital to negotiate and get excellent conditions.
Pei Shaoze returned home that night and felt much better. He went to the bathroom to take a shower. Then he came to the desk and looked at the first version of the contract. Just then, his phone rang. It was a photo sent by Pei Shaoyan. [Brother, I’m having dinner with Cheng Xia. Hehe!]
There were many grilled skewers on the table.
Pei Shaoze frowned. [Don’t be a bad influence on Cheng Xia by bringing him to eat these unhealthy barbecues at night.]
Pei Shaoyan looked innocent. [Cheng Xia wanted to eat barbecue so he brought me here!]
Pei Shaoze, “……”
Did young men love to eat barbecue so much?
Pei Shaoze looked at the photo of Cheng Xia lowering his head to eat the skewers. The more he looked, the cuter he felt. He sent a message, [Since Cheng Xia loves to eat it, you’re allowed to accompany him for a while.]
Pei Shaoyan, [Double stands! You praise Cheng Xia no matter what he does while you scold me no matter what I do, right?]
Pei Shaoze, [It seems to be.]
Pei Shaoyan was so angry that he lowered his face. He didn’t want to acknowledge this brother and decided to follow Cheng Xia in the future.
Pei Shaoze smiled and sent a message to Cheng Xia, [Are you eating out?]
Cheng Xia put down the meat skewers in his hand, took off his gloves, and quickly replied, [We finished filming the drama early today so we decided to go to a nearby barbecue shop to have dinner. I’m tired of eating the crew’s lunch boxes every day so my agent is buying us a better meal.]
There were four pairs of chopsticks on the table. Cheng Xia’s agent and assistant were obviously also present.
It was just that the environment of the store didn’t look particularly good. It was a type of roadside stall that citizens often visited. Pei Shaoze was worried. [Don’t eat too much and be careful with your stomach. Have your agent buy some medicine for diarrhea just in case.] He used to have a bad stomach. It was easy for him to get a stomach ache when eating barbecue so he never touched such things.
Cheng Xia happily told him, [Brother Pei, it’s okay. This store has good online reviews and some crew members also came here yesterday. I have eaten at these types of roadside stalls since I was young and poisons can’t affect me!] Then he sent several photos of delicious food.
Pei Shaoze saw his energy and couldn’t bear to stop it. He could only say, [Okay, you eat first. We’ll talk when you get back.]
Cheng Xia returned to the hotel at 10 o’clock in the evening. He took a shower, locked the door, and sat on the bed to start a video call with Pei Shaoze. A moment later, the alpha’s familiar face appeared on his phone. Brother Pei must’ve been working overtime these days. The laptop behind him was still on and his brow was full of fatigue. Cheng Xia immediately felt distressed. “Didn’t you sleep well?”
The young man who appeared on the mobile phone screen had wet hair and eyes so clear they looked like they had been just washed by water. Pei Shaoze met his caring eyes and the tiredness of the entire day instantly disappeared. The corners of his lips gently lifted and he said, “I listened to you and went to bed on time every day.”
Cheng Xia slightly raised his eyebrow. “Your hair is long. Have you been too busy to cut your hair after you came back from Ya’an?”
Pei Shaoze used his phone as a mirror and carefully examined himself.
The two people were on a video call when he suddenly used his phone as a mirror. His face suddenly enlarged on the screen and even his eyelashes were clearly visible. Cheng Xia’s heart jumped. Looking at it from this close distance, this alpha was too handsome. He also looked good in glasses and Cheng Xia wanted to jump over for a kiss…
Cheng Xia’s cheeks were hot and he whispered, “It’s a bit long. Go cut it sometime.”
Pei Shaoze’s hair was only a bit longer. The fact that such a detail could be seen showed how much this young man cared about him. Pei Shaoze’s heart warmed. He moved the phone away from him and looked at the young man. “Okay, I will listen to you and go tomorrow to cut it.”
Cheng Xia asked worriedly, “You look very tired. Have your talks with the broadcasting platforms for Folding Paper not been smooth?”
Pei Shaoze shifted the lens to the contract on the computer. “It really didn’t go well at the beginning and talks with the top three platforms all collapsed. Fortunately, the partner has been determined today. The drama will be broadcasted exclusively on Linghu TV starting from July 10th. There will be two episodes a day. At that time, it will be summer vacation and many students will be watching dramas. Don’t worry, I will arrange everything.”
Cheng Xia believed in Brother Pei’s decisions. If Brother Pei picked Linghu TV then Linghu was definitely the best. Brother Pei clearly used a lot of energy talking to other platforms. Seeing him work so hard for the drama, Cheng Xia wished he could fly over immediately and hug him tightly.
Cheng Xia seriously said, “Brother Pei, I can’t help you with these things but it has been really hard on you these days.”
‘It was really hard to go around and negotiate with these people. However, what was a bit of hard work for the sake of your dream, for you to stand on the biggest stage in the future and receive the praise and applause of countless people? I just want to protect you on the highest throne.’
Pei Shaoze softly told the other person, “Don’t worry, I’m not tired. Your first work will soon be released. Let’s look forward to it together.”
I personally find the details in this novel very good. Often when reading about the entertainment industry it’s very superficial. When I read this with the experience I’ve had on this end of the industry I can see the author put effort into research or has experience. And it is so much work on the back end of shows and movies that often gets overlooked. I like that it’s not all just magically done by the MC and isn’t effortless. It makes it more meaningful all the hard work both characters put into their art.