Film executives agree that Chinese film distribution is very different today from what it was in the past due to the emergence of the internet.
Film executives attend the China Film Distribution Summit in Beijing, April 18, 2017. [Photo / Xinhua]
They were attending a China Film Distribution Summit, part of the 7th Beijing International Film Festival on Tuesday in Beijing to share their views and insights on the changing landscape.
"When Zhang Yimou's 'Hero' was distributed over a dozen years ago, the situation was totally different from today. With the passage of time, I get more and more confused. Because of the involvement of the internet, changes in film distribution in China are coming faster than ever," said Bill Kong, the president of Hong Kong-based Edko Films Ltd.
He made a comparison as follows: "When we are about to distribute a film in the United States, we still use some traditional methods, such as advertising heavily on TV. However, in China, a lot of distributors don't buy commercial time on TV anymore, because the choices of Chinese viewers are completely controlled by the internet. As a practitioner in the film industry, I think if we want to know how to distribute films in China, we have to be aware of how the potential audience spends its money. "
Kong said moviegoers currently rely heavily on the internet, and the relationship between internet companies and film distributors will surely become even closer, "because they are the media platform with the biggest audience. If an internet company knows how to control the consumption of film viewers, it will be well-placed in the film distribution industry."
Jiang Ping, the general manager of China Film Co., Ltd., echoed this sentiment, saying: "The growth and coverage of the new economy represented by the mobile internet are beyond imagination. What would life be like without mobile phones or internet? The internet is indispensable to all Chinese and all filmmakers. 'Internet Plus' is posing a new challenge to industrial transformation and upgrading at whirlwind pace. Let's take the speed of 'Internet Plus' for in-depth transformation, cross-border integration, integration into the era and constant development."
Huang Qunfei, the deputy general manager of Huaxia Film Distribution Co., Ltd., believed the emergence and intervention of the internet had made the Chinese market more and more complicated, and distribution increasingly diversified.
"Firstly, the distribution channels are diversified," he said, "Secondly, distributors are diversified. Besides traditional distribution companies, there are also numerous new media and internet distributors. Thirdly, the distribution modes are increasingly complex. Now there are a large variety of distribution modes, including pre-sale, guaranteed distribution and more. Fourthly, the distribution capital is becoming more and more financially-based and complicated. As I see it, the internet is changing the film industry and the distribution sector, in particular, in the most profound way. "
Not only distribution, but also filmmaking is coming under the influence of the internet, said Zhou Baolin, the deputy general manager of China Film Co., Ltd.
"There are more and more capital operations, especially in the internet and finance industries, and more and more investors, including State-owned, private and mixed-economy institutions as well as film distributors. Under this diversified environment, film distribution should be developed in depth with broadened thinking based on internet, such as the intervention and follow-up at the initial stage of filmmaking. "
Zeng Maojun, the president of Wanda Cinema Line Corp, added the major internet platforms had started film distribution and production from an e-commerce base. "All the companies are striving to open up both the upstream and downstream aspects of the industry chain. The diversified and orderly competition is facilitating the rapid development of the Chinese film industry."