How is internet changing the Chinese movie business? | Digital Asia

By Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU.

Winston Wenyan Ma, Managing Director and Head of CIC (China Investment Corporation) explains with great accuracy the impact of Internet on the Chinese movie business. See the original article here.

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The last few years, a significant increase of the use of internet and devices has been reported in China leading to a very dynamic tech sector, and useful social medias.

This has had a huge influence on how consumers behave. Companies also have new ways to target consumers. Business models have to be completely rethought.

Companies need to incorporate mobile technology into traditional industries. The e-commerce is absolutely essential nowadays. This is why Chinese companies invest in internet infrastructures such as cloud computing, wireless communications, digital platforms or big .

As mobile internet is leading the fourth industrial revolution, business models need to be less creative and more effective. The speed of this transformation in China is unparalleled:immature industries such as retail and logistics  went straight from the early industrial age to the internet one, and the growth and positive spillovers go beyond traditional industry sectors such as the consumer goods sector to services, entertainment, media or finance. As the following case study on “internet+movies+ demonstrates, the new value creation from the mobile internet can come from new angles.

The rapid increase of Cinema screens in China

The movie industry in China benefits the most of this changing Business landscape. If Chinese consumers' appetite for film maintains this growth rate, China will be on track to surpass the US to become the world's largest box office market in a few years.

The new Mutli-Screen Era

Until a few years ago, China's movie studios controlled the entire production of movies. Nowadays, consumers make their preferences known to the directors and producers through social media like “WeChat” or “Douban”.

Studios also use big data analytics to understand the consumers need. In China, Big data highly influences idea creation, production and marketing campaigns. More and more directors search the internet for potential trends.

The internet hosts young writers work an many online novels, Every day, millions of young-digital-reading users refresh their mobile apps, just to keep up with the daily updates of their favorite reads. The concept is interesting because the reads are short, therefore readable in small laps of time. The format also helps the literature website to implement a pay-for-content mechanism. Many of these successful short novels have been produces into games, videos or movies.

With the arrival of internet, the business model of movies has also changed. Traditionally, Chinese films would be funded by studios, now a days, everyone can participate to the production of a movie by using crowd-funding allowing ordinary people to become movie micro-financiers.

The experience of watching a movie in the cinema has also changed. Nowadays the experience has to be more interactive, therefore movie theaters have experimented the “bullet screen”, a model giving the opportunity to the viewers to discuss the film by putting up comments on the screen during the screening of the movie.

The “bullet screen” was originally invented in Japan and creates a virtual “watching together” experience among people. According to the proponents, the highlight of this experience is not the movie itself but to “tu-cao” (Chinese for “ridicule and criticise in a joking way”).

Movie advertisement has also changed in China for certain content. For example, the advertisement of the Chinese film series “Tiny Times”  was done on social media. As a result, the production company saved a lot of money in advertisement. The movie studio also claims that they predicted the box office returns by tapping into uses of Weibo, Renren and Douban.

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