China’s box office is expected to plummet to $4.2 billion this year, less than half of 2019’s $9.2 billion. With theaters shuttered indefinitely and no release dates in sight for completed films, thousands of production companies have gone out of business, and those that remain must focus on how to “rescue and sustain themselves.”
The lengthy (and in some cases permanent) theater closures are pushing some studios to devote more attention to producing content for TV and streaming video platforms, which could give a major upgrade to the quality of productions. Beijing Enlight Media, one of the few studios to turn a profit in 2019, has a slate of 14 dramas planned. Huayi Brothers, Bona Film Group, and Beijing Culture are among other big players turning to smaller screens.
Studios are also looking at the MCN business to tap into the potential of online celebrities for more diversified revenue streams. In February, Wanda Media cofounded one such firm, called Yintemate, which focuses on short video, e-commerce, livestreaming, advertising, and gaming. Actress Li Xiaolu signed on with the company and made a beauty-focused e-commerce livestreaming debut on Douyin, meshing with the short video platform’s turn to hosting celebrity-driven sales.
Meanwhile, cinemas have been forced to make even bigger pivots, from offering their spaces for photoshoots and basketball practice to engaging in livestreaming to sell snacks and derivative products. Read more in Chinese from Entertainment Capital.
– This article originally appeared on Content Commerce Insider.