China Reopens Cinemas today
Maoyan Entertainment (Hong Kong: 1896), a leading platform providing innovative Internet-empowered entertainment services in China, has teamed up with online entertainment service provider iQIYI and China’s leading social media platform Weibo to jointly release a report on China’s movie market for the first half of 2020.
The report draws from various indicators, including surveys of Chinese movie lovers, Maoyan market data, Weibo search statistics, and iQIYI streaming data. It presents a detailed analysis of movie lovers’ expectations for the reopening of cinemas, explains how they are adapting to changes in China’s movie industry, and describes the ways in which online streaming platforms are adapting to market trends resulting from COVID-19.
- The willingness of movie lovers to return to cinemas, when they reopen, is on the rise.
- New releases, ticket discounts, and theaters implementing COVID-19 safety measures will be key factors for movie lovers to return to cinemas.
- Streaming movies online has become a new normal: over 60% of movie lovers are willing to pay to watch movies online.
- Online streaming platforms experienced an enormous surge from January to March as people were confined to their homes. In response, streaming platforms expanded their movie databases to meet user demand for blockbusters.
- With the boom in online entertainment, the technology behind online movie distribution and promotion has accelerated.
- In the long run, online streaming and theatrical releases will coexist and work in synergy.
Movie lovers’ willingness to return to cinemas
Movie lovers’ willingness to return to cinemas has been on a continual rise. In a survey conducted at the end of May by Maoyan, around 88% of respondents said they were eager to return to cinemas, up from 72% of respondents in March and 54% in February.
According to the May survey, about 51% of respondents would prefer to watch new releases in IMAX and Dolby theaters after cinemas reopen.
As to what types of movies they would choose to watch, comedy, sci-fi, action and suspense movies were among the most-anticipated movie genres after cinemas reopen.
In addition to new releases and discounted tickets, the implementation of COVID-19 safety measures in movie theaters is another factor for movie lovers to consider returning to cinemas. In Maoyan’s March survey, nearly 60% of respondents said that strict theater precautionary measures would be their primary factor in considering returning to cinemas.
Watching movies online is becoming a new normal: over 60% of movie lovers are willing to pay to watch movies online
According to the Maoyan March survey, 73% of respondents said they have paid to watch movies online. When asked to rate the acceptability of being charged to watch online, more than 60% of respondents said that it is acceptable to them.
Theatergoers and online streamers have similar preferences for times of day to watch movies. According to iQIYI data, before bedtime 9:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m., is the peak timeslot for movie streaming. Viewing also peaks at lunchtime from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. With more interrupted watching patterns than in theaters, viewers finish watching a movie in an average of 1.6 playback sessions.
According to a survey conducted by Weibo, about 62% of respondents said that convenience is the primary advantage of watching movies online, followed by the flexibility to watch anytime, anywhere at adjusted playback speeds (59%), and thirdly by the rich selection of content (56%).
In terms of disadvantages compared to the in-theater experience, 68% of respondents said the main disadvantage of online streaming is the worse visual and sound quality, 58% said the worse movie-watching experience, and about 49% said the main disadvantage was having to wait for the online release of popular movies.