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Watch: In Hong Kong and Taiwan, yesterday's gruesome crime is today's digital cartoon.
“People sometimes can’t handle the truth,” Lee said. “Culturally, for the generation who grew up with the internet, they know how to handle the truth. Some older people might find this too exciting. But even as they say this, they still consume our product.”
But the preliminary response, Lee said, has been overwhelmingly positive. The website’s traffic doubled on the first day the “Motion Videos” were posted.
Shortly after launching in 1995, Apple Daily’s racy Hong Kong edition was condemned by Chinese authorities. But through its relentless coverage of street violence, celebrities and auto accidents, it eventually became the second-largest circulation paper in the city. The Taipei edition was launched in 2003 to similar success.
The re-enactments, Lee said, are part of a larger strategy to wean readers off print and crank up the tabloids’ online and mobile phone offerings. “Let’s face it,” he said. “Newspapers are going downhill. And print is no longer the future.”
Through a licensing agreement, Lee said, roughly 70 percent of iPhones sold in Hong Kong are installed with an Apple Daily application that offers “Motion News.”
The tabloids eventually want to produce animations for Western newspapers, which may find it difficult to compete with Apple Daily’s up-and-running animation farms. Lee said he’s considering a “road show” to the U.S. to interest various news outlets.