A good turning point for Chinese films

Updated: 2014-01-10 08:06

By Zhu Jin (China Daily)

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Some specialized sectors have already achieved good development. Take film marketing for example, which used to be conducted by the production companies themselves. Nowadays, specialized marketing companies have taken over this role and this has helped raise the profile of domestic films. Data shows, that of the 26 domestic films that made more than 100 million yuan at the box office in the first half of 2013, third-party specialist companies conducted the marketing for 17 of them.

The Internet has accelerated the process of third-party marketing of domestic films. The popularity of video websites, social media and "online to offline" viewing has replaced some traditional marketing and advertising strategies. Take Tiny Times for example, it targeted teenagers and young adults, mainly 15 to 25 year-old girls, by incorporating many of the hot issues discussed on micro blogs into the plots, and the film's director and stars would discuss these online creating pre-release hype for the film. This helped build an audience for the movie, and many cinemagoers paid well in advance to ensure they were among the first to see the film, which finally made nearly 500 million yuan at the box office and recorded the highest rate of return on its production costs of any film screened last year.

Lastly, there has been more financial support for domestic films, which has boosted the development potential of China's film industry. The cooperation and interaction between financing companies and film companies has become increasingly prominent, as the growing success of domestic movies is attracting greater investment. This in turn has led to Chinese filmmakers focusing on more commercial projects in order to maximize the return on investments. For example, Feng Xiaogang's new movie Personal Tailor, was produced by Huayi Media Group, which is listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange. The film was released on Dec 19 and made 570 million yuan at the box office in two weeks.

It is reported that Chinese commercial banks issued credit funds of over 600 million yuan to the film industry from 2006 to 2011. By the end of 2013, the amount of private equity invested in the film and TV industry exceeded 32 billion yuan. Such a huge amount of capital and leverage can help the industry realize economies of scale and the integrated optimization of the industrial chain. However, supporting mechanisms, such as risk assessment and guarantee systems, are needed to attract more capital to the domestic film industry.

Whether the Chinese film industry can maintain the above advantages will be significant for its future development, but certainly they will serve to support the boom this year.

The author is a writer with China Daily


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