Minute-Long Soap Operas Are Here. Is America Ready?

When Albee Zhang received an offer to produce cheesy short-form features made for phones last spring, she was skeptical, and so, she declined.

But the offers kept coming. Finally, Ms. Zhang, who has been a producer for 12 years, realized it could be a profitable new way of storytelling and said yes.

Since last summer, she has produced two short-form features and is working on four more for several apps that are creating cookie-cutter content aimed at women.

Think: Lifetime movie cut up into TikTok videos. Think: soap opera, but for the short attention span of the internet age.

The biggest player in this new genre is ReelShort, an app that offers melodramatic content in minute-long, vertically shot episodes and is hoping to bring a successful formula established abroad to the United States by hooking millions of people on its short-form content.

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