Youku (NYSE: YOKU), China’s leading Internet television company, announced today that it will launch an animated web serial, Miss Puff, this April. The new series is the company’s most ambitious web serial to date, with 104 seven-minute episodes planned over eight seasons.
Miss Puff is a natural continuation of the original feature Miss Puff‘s Goldfish Bowl, an animated short that premiered last November as one of the films in Youku’s 11 Degrees New Media Film Project, a partnership between Youku, Chevrolet Cruze, and the China Film Group. The trailer for the upcoming series has been viewed more than 220,000 times over the past week, suggesting that it will share the popularity of the original film, which was viewed more than five million times and linked in roughly two million tweets, making it the most-tweeted of the 11 Degrees films.
Positioned as a Chinese Sex and the City, Miss Puff will have weekly dates with Youku’s 280 million online viewers. Each episode will revolve around an object in the titular material girl’s everyday life, offering Miss Puff a chance to contemplate the vicissitudes of fast-paced Chinese urban life and presenting a product placement opportunity for advertisers like GM and Lenovo.
Created by Beijing-based independent animator Pi San, Miss Puff explores the social mores of young white-collar professionals through the persona of its title character, a doe-eyed young Beijing freelancer who bears more than a passing resemblance to French actress Audrey Tautou and Chinese songstress Faye Wong. Like the original film, the new animations blend animated characters with live-action backgrounds, bringing a level of realism to the animation. With the incorporation of viewer feedback in the series’ plot arcs, Miss Puff will engage viewers with storylines that they can relate to.
Youku is no stranger to creating online series, having premiered China’s first web serial, Hip-Hop Office Quartet, in 2008. After three seasons, the show passed 100 million views last August.
Miss Puff is being produced by Youku Original, Youku’s in-house content production department. Youku Original is a key part of the company’s content strategy, which pursues a combination of licensed professionally produced content, self-produced content from Youku Original, and user-uploaded content. With Miss Puff, Youku Original will continue to blend engaging content, social relevance, and cutting-edge marketing to create a series that will engage and delight the viewers advertisers want to reach.