NextMedia Isn't Stopping With JetBlue and Snooki Videos

NextMedia Animation’s computerized reenactment of jetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater’s notorious last day on the job has been a hit, but it’s no accident that the studio has broadened the scope of its computer-animated dramatizations of news events beyond the Hong Kong and Taiwan region that it calls home.

The animation studio is a unit of Next Media Ltd., the company founded by billionaire Jimmy Lai, an outspoken critic of Beijing — and the founder of the Giordano retail clothing chain — who has used his media holdings to counter what he calls a pro-China trend in the region’s press. Next Media is now Hong Kong’s largest listed Chinese-language print media company and the publisher of the Apple Daily newspaper and Next Magazine in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Mark Simon, commercial director at NextMedia, says the animated videos have been enormously popular, averaging four million views per day in Hong Kong alone, and sparking imitations among its competitors, though not in the way one might think.

Hong Kong’s “unique” media environment means the company’s strategy “isn’t echoed by others, as no one helps a competitor, especially one unpopular with government,” he said. “But in Hong Kong, every single TV station is now undertaking some form of animation. No secret, a response to us.”

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