China’s on-demand platforms are increasingly becoming the new test beds for paper formats as broadcasters seek to avert risk by acquiring programmes with proven track records. It is this notion that led to the commission of Is That Really Your Voice?, says the format’s creator, Global Agency CEO Izzet Pinto.
“I created the format a year ago and made a short trailer, but TV executives are so scared of trying new things that they passed on it,” he says. “I just needed one client to prove the potential, and China is very entrepreneurial. It was brought there, the executives there loved it and thought they should buy it.”
International formats are normally packaged in China before being placed with a broadcaster. However, with new restrictions on satellite channels reducing the amount of overseas programming allowed, the decision was made to hand the show to iQiyi, the leading on-demand service. Launching on August 5, it has been a huge success, generating 234.9 million views across five episodes at the time of writing, a record for Chinese on-demand viewing.
Pinto says the show is “a new type of format: the comedy variety genre based on music”. The show sees a guest judge guessing who the best singer from a group of performers is, judging purely on their physical appearance and performance as their voices are muted.
“The most fun part is after the eliminations the judge takes the winner and performs a duet with them, but they do not know if that person can even sing,” says Pinto.
The show: Is That Really Your Voice?
The producer: Global Agency, China Online Video Research Center
The distributor: Global Agency
The broadcaster: iQiyi (China)
The concept: Variety show in which guest judges have to guess which soundless performer is the real thing