The popular new trend in entertainment is low-quality, very brief soap operas on TikTok. It’s an odd industry that has proven to be profitable for the Chinese-owned ReelShort.
The platform specializes in trashy romance, revenge, and werewolf stories targeting young women — and their smartphones. It’s paying off: ReelShort in November actually exceeded TikTok on the Apple Store’s download charts, and its creator says the app is already making money. The imitators are on the way.
ReelShort was created by the Crazy Maple Studio, which is Beijing-supported and California-based. And its real momentum has resulted in some very real profiles in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. You can’t read very far into any article on ReelShort without a mention of the word “Quibi,” the short-lived, short-form app from DreamWorks founder Jeffrey Katzenberg that launched — and died — in 2020. Katzenberg blamed COVID for its swift downfall.