Behind the burgeoning popularity of script killing: a bubble business that lives and dies quickly?

Behind the burgeoning popularity of script killing: a bubble business that lives and dies quickly?

At the end of May, there was an incident in the script killing industry, which triggered a series of chain reactions.

The story started when the public number “Script Kill Circle” published an article titled “Talking about plagiarism and borrowing from “Playboy””. The article mentioned that the hardcore limited script “The Players” had been complained by players, who questioned that its core trick was copied from the classic online post “The Grain Store Room Murder Case” several years ago, and the author of the article used “The Players” as an example to express some views on the controversial issues related to plagiarism and borrowing of scripted works.

Subsequently, the author of the article was accused by the publisher of “The Playwright”, Studio Sugar, of “taking the article out of context”. The publisher believes that “The Playwright” is an adaptation of the real event “The Grain Store Room Murder Case”, and that borrowing and adapting is not the same as plagiarism.

However, one of the original authors of the Internet classic “Grain Store Room Murder Case”, Tao Quba, came forward and said that the “Grain Store Case” was not a real event, but an original novel with clear copyright ownership. After several arguments, the incident ended with an apology, compensation, recall of the script revision, and reconciliation with the original author team.

In recent years, script killing has grown from a niche hobby to a $10 billion market, experiencing a process of rapid expansion and brutal growth. From the creation and distribution of screenplay works, to screenplay exhibitions, online platforms and offline stores, to countless individual players, this industry chain has supported a “new blue ocean” of business.

At this moment, the problem in front of the script killing industry is becoming clearer and clearer – how to make the industry “cake” bigger? How to refine and standardize the development? How to maintain and give full play to the vitality of the script to kill?

Ten Billion Dollar Market

How big is the “cake” of script killing?

According to the data of the platform and market research from 2020 to 2021, it is estimated that the market size of China’s physical script killing market will reach 15.42 billion yuan in 2021, and the consumer size is expected to reach 9.41 million.

The script kill has become a veritable $10 billion market, and this has only happened in the last two years.

In 2014, script killing was called “murder mystery”, and there were no more than a hundred scripts in circulation nationwide, with most of them flowing in from overseas. During this period, the most popular games in the board game market were Three Kingdoms Kill and Werewolf Kill. Since 2015, the number of werewolf killing-type reality shows has increased significantly, rapidly breaking the circle and taking the market by storm. For a time, werewolf killing game has become an important way of social entertainment among young people, and the era of “national werewolf killing” has come.

Just like the “short-lived” of many online games, it is hard for table games to escape this fate. From Three Kingdoms Kill to Werewolf Kill, when young people are more familiar with the relevant gameplay and understand more systematically, their freshness of this game also decreases rapidly.

The offline fever faded, and scripted kill was then known to Chinese consumers in the variety show hit. 2016, the first season of “Star Detective” was launched on MANGO TV, and this deduction show, which originated from a Korean idea, quickly became a domestic hit variety show and one of MANGO’s ace IPs.

With deduction as the core, together with the restoration and interpretation of the storyline, script killing provides a new entertainment experience and social atmosphere for young people. According to the “2021 Entity Script Kill Consumption Insight Report” released by MMT, among the main channels for script kill to attract users, friend recommendation and popular variety show amenity are the two most common ones, with the selection ratio reaching 40% and 37% respectively. With good marketing and exposure, this game is gradually gaining popularity among young consumer groups.

Affected by the epidemic, the traffic of offline script killing in 2020 has dropped significantly, and stores frequently face crises such as closing down. The online script killing APPs such as I am a mystery and Hundred Great Detectives exploded in popularity, among which, I am a mystery APP has the highest monthly download volume. Online script kill to a large extent to meet the social needs of young people at home, but also to cultivate some young users of the script kill consumption habits.

However, the online script killing game form also has “hard”. For example, the quality of the script varies, the online experience is unstable, the immersion is poor, etc. After the epidemic era, script kill consumers are not satisfied with the online voice interactive game experience, began to move to offline, script kill physical stores to re usher in business peak.

Script killing is still in full swing. The data from Meituan shows that the top three cities with the largest number of stores are Shanghai, Wuhan and Beijing, in that order, and the western netroots tourist cities of Chengdu and Xi’an have also entered the top five. In terms of the growth rate of the number of stores, Wuhan, Beijing and Zhengzhou have the fastest growth rate, with year-on-year growth of more than 50%. Tianjin, Changsha and Shenyang followed, with store growth rates all exceeding 40%.

At the same time, the script to kill the player stickiness is high, the desire to spend is also more vigorous. The frequency of consumption of “pit” users is stable, 63.5% of users will consume script kill once or more in two weeks, and over 40% of users consume more than once a week.

Standardization and reshuffling

Refinement and standardization of development is an important issue facing the script kill industry at the moment.

The other side of the rapid expansion of script killing stores in 2020 is the rise in the number of script killing business cancellations. According to the data from SkyEye, nearly 350 script-killing-related companies were written off in 2020, and many script-killing companies were “born and died quickly”. The lack of quality scripts, rampant piracy, the blind influx of stores, and the unstable consumer experience are more factors that affect whether and where the script killing industry can go.

Some industry insiders see this as a necessary stage for the script killing industry – regulation and reshuffling.

According to the 2021 Entity Script Kill Consumer Insight Report, more than 90% of script kill merchants choose to enter the game motivated by the script kill to start their own independent brand, which leads to script kill stores stand, competition is also relatively fierce.

At the same time, the script killing industry chain is low, 78% of merchants only opened a single store, 21% of merchants opened 2 to 5 stores, only 1% of merchants have more than 6 stores. At the operational level, most merchants will operate a variety of indoor entertainment formats such as script killing, board games and secret rooms at the same time. 82% of merchants adopt a mixed business approach to meet consumers’ different offline social entertainment needs.

From the perspective of consumers, scripted killing is still an emerging form of entertainment with blurred content boundaries, a low level of regulation, and difficulty in forming strong brand recognition. From a content production and ecological perspective, the scripted kill industry is also plagued by industry chaos such as widespread piracy, disrespect for intellectual property rights, and low-price vicious competition.

Therefore, since 2021, several seminars have been held in the industry to discuss the standardized development of scriptkill.

At the end of May, a seminar on script killing copyright protection and content innovation was held in Shanghai. In response to copyright issues such as content homogenization caused by pirated scripts and plagiarized scripts, Guo Lan, deputy secretary-general of the China Culture and Entertainment Industry Association, said, “Script Kill is an emerging cultural and creative industry, and only by doing a good job of content, safeguarding consumer safety and firmly establishing a positive industry image will it be possible to make the industry’s ‘cake’ bigger together ‘”

At the same time to address this issue, small black tan founder Wang Huangyue said: “the current script kill to the next stage, content production safety, copyright is particularly important, it is to promote the benign development of the industry’s cornerstone. The most important thing at the current stage is to establish the information circulation mechanism of copyright protection as soon as possible.”

Control and release

According to Meituan data, the top three factors that consumers value most when choosing a physical scripted kill user are the professionalism of the DM (scripted kill host), the quality of the script and the reputation of the merchant evaluation. This is closely related to the scripted kill game model, where professional hosts and excellent scripts directly affect consumers’ gaming experience. Nearly half of these consumers will choose an offline script kill store based on the professionalism of the DM.

The quality of scripts depends on the upstream, and the experience of script kill stores depends on the downstream. However, although the script killing industry is large, it is still relatively fragmented between upstream and downstream from an industry perspective.

The quality of upstream script content varies. Although the script killing industry has attracted a lot of new forces to join, quality scripts are still scarce and the industry has problems such as disrespect for intellectual property rights and widespread piracy. At the same time, scripts are “disposable consumables”, so in order to fully meet the consumption needs of users, a balance must be found between quality and production capacity.

There are many downstream stores but competition is fierce. The high degree of enthusiasm and low threshold of script killing business, many stores in the service consciousness, industrial layout, brand building is still in the early stage of development, these aspects have greatly affected the consumer’s script killing experience.

The midstream platform needs to make full use of the advantages of linking upstream and downstream to “twist the industry into a rope”.

The integration and synergy of Internet platforms is considered to be one of the means to promote the healthy development of the scripted killing industry. Content and experience are the soul of scripted killing, and the fundamental reason why the industry can continue to grow.

Because of the surprising script story and interesting and rich offline experience, it is because of this that script killing has broken through the ceiling of the traditional board game/face game industry and become a cultural and creative industry with stronger vitality . Stores are limited, consumers are unlimited. From store-oriented to consumer-oriented, it is a qualitative leap for the script killing industry. Script Kill is knocking on the door of players directly, and is also trying to knock on the door of more young people who are eager for quality entertainment experience.

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