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BEIJING, July 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Maoyan Entertainment (“Maoyan” or “the Company”) (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.

Highlights:

  • 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.

Willingness to go to cinemas

Percentage of total respondents

February

March

May

Much more eager to go to cinemas

27%

34%

55%

Eager to go to cinemas

27%

38%

33%

Neutral

33%

18%

11%

Not that eager to go to cinemas

10%

7%

1%

No intention at all

3%

3%

N/A

According to the May survey, about 51% of respondents would prefer to watch new releases in IMAX and Dolby theaters after cinemas reopen.

Movies and theater preference after cinema reopening

Percentage of total respondents

New releases in IMAX and Dolby theaters

51%

New releases in regular theaters

31%

Classic movies in IMAX and Dolby theaters with discount tickets

14%

Classic movies in regular theaters with discount tickets

3%

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.

Most anticipated movie genres to watch after cinemas reopen

Percentage of total respondents

Comedy

29%

Sci-fi

14%

Action

9%

Suspense

8%

Animation

7%

Drama

5%

Romance

5%

Others

23%

As of July 9, 2020, the most anticipated upcoming movies were “Detective Chinatown 3,” “JIANG ZIYA: Legend of Deification” and “The Rescue” among movie lovers on the Maoyan Pro App.

Top 10 “Maoyan Interested” upcoming movies

“Interested” clicks

Detective Chinatown 3

2.3M

JIANG ZIYA: Legend of Deification

930K

The Rescue

453K

Leap

379K

Journey to the West

352K

L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties 2

327K

The Eight Hundred

270K

Vanguard

192K

Boonie Bears: The Wild Life

184K

Onmyoji

151K

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.

Factors to consider for returning to cinemas 

Percentage of total respondents

Strict precautionary measures (temperature checks and real name
registration)

59%

Ticket discounts

58%

Quality of new movies released

40%

Limited seating

24%

Movie schedule

21%

Waiting to see how other people react

18%

Auditorium size

16%

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.

Paid to watch movies online

Percentage of total respondents

Yes

73%

Not sure/Don’t remember

5%

No

22%

Acceptability of paying for online movies

Percentage of total respondents

Completely acceptable

21%

Moderately acceptable

43%

Not very acceptable

25%

Not at all acceptable

6%

Doesn’t matter to me

6%

As movie lovers have shifted to streaming online, their go-to sources for movie news and information have shifted as well. Weibo and long-form video platforms (iQIYI, Tencent Video and Youku) became the main sources for movie news, followed by WeChat Moments, friend recommendations, and short-form video platforms (TikTok and Kuaishou). 

Sources for movie news and relevant information

Percentage of total respondents

Weibo

73%

Long-form video platforms (iQIYI, Tencent Video, and Youku)

73%

WeChat Moments and friend recommendations

40%

Short-form video platforms (TikTok and Kuaishou)

40%

Movie and TV rating website, e.g., Douban

36%

WeChat official accounts

32%

Online ticketing platform, e.g., Maoyan

18%

News and information platform, e.g., Toutiao

7%

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%).

Advantages of watching movies online

Percentage of total respondents

Convenience

62%

Flexibility to watch anytime, anywhere at adjusted playback speeds

59%

Rich selection of content

56%

Private space for watching movies

48%

Cheaper price or free for streaming

42%

Interactions with other online users

35%

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.

Disadvantages of watching movies online

Percentage of total respondents

Worse visual and sound quality than in theaters

68%

Worse movie-watching experience

58%

Long wait-time before popular content is available online

49%

Less social experience

38%

Lower quality of content

34%

Some online movies charge higher

30%

After the COVID-19 pandemic when movie theaters reopen, 48% of respondents would consider watching movies both online and in theaters. About 8% of people would only choose to either watch movies online or go to movie theaters.

Preferred method of watching movies in the future

Percentage of total respondents

Only watching movies online

4%

Watching movies online as the first choice

10%

Both watching movies online and in movie theaters

48%

Going to movie theaters as the first choice

33%

Only watching movies in theater

4%

Online streaming platform strategies to adapt to COVID-19 market trends

According to the report, Chinese online streaming platforms experienced an enormous surge from January to March as people were confined to their homes. In February, the monthly active users (MAU) of iQIYI, Tencent Video and Youku increased by an average of 8.3% year-over-year.

However, the MAU of these three platforms shrank in April and May as people resumed normal work following the containment of COVID-19 in China. During the same period, short-form video platforms went through an explosion in popularity.  


Increase in MAU of online streaming platforms year-over-year

iQIYI

Tencent Video

Youku

January

8.3%

11.9%

-0.2%

February

9.4%

11.5%

3.9%

March

6.4%

0.7%

-9.6%

April

-2.4%

-6.4%

-15.9%

May

-6.7%

-8.4%

-21.5%

Among online streaming platforms, iQIYI released 176 movies in the first half of 2020, accounting for 44.3% of the total market. Tencent released 86 movies, accounting for 21.7%, while Youku released 114 movies, accounting for 28.7% of the total market.


New releases in H1 2020

Percentage of total market

iQIYI

176

44.3%

Tencent Video

86

21.7%

Youku

114

28.7%

Theatrical blockbusters were the most popular movies for streaming in the first half of 2020. According to the report, among top 20 most popular movies on iQIYI in the first half of 2020, about 40% were theatrical releases from the second half of 2019, about 30% were new online releases, while 30% were older theatrical movies released in previous years.

Top 20 movies in H1 2020 on iQIYI platform

Percentage

Theatrical released movies from H2 2019

40%

Online new releases

30%

Theatrical released movies in the past few years

30%

Long-form video platforms expanded their database of movies to meet increased user demand for watching blockbusters online. The number of new movies on iQIYI platform increased by more than 200% year-over-year. Video platforms also selected several popular movies to stream for free in a certain period to attract movie lovers.

In response to the growing popularity of online streaming platforms, some movies turned from a planned theatrical releases to a direct streaming release. The Chinese comedy “Enter the Fat Dragon,” and the Academy Award-winning drama “Marriage Story,” were released on iQIYI and Tencent Video, and were available on platforms through “early-access transactional on-demand” mode.

Release Date

Movie

Streaming Platform

January 24

Lost in Russia

TikTok, Xigua Video, Toutiao and Huanxi
Premium

February 1

Enter the Fat Dragon

iQIYI and Tencent Video

March 21

The Winners

TikTok, Xigua Video, and Toutiao

April 20

Knockout

iQIYI

May 17

Spring Tide

iQIYI

May 20

Marriage Story

iQIYI and Tencent Video

May 22

The Lovebirds

iQIYI and Tencent Video

June 18

A Whisker Away

TikTok, Xigua Video, and Toutiao

June 25

Ash

Youku

June 27

Looking for Lucky

Youku

The technology behind online movie distribution and promotion has been accelerated with the boom in the online entertainment market. In terms of movie copyright protection, online movies use DRM technology to protect copyrights, restricting the right to use digital media content. The coverage of DRM-enabled content on iQIYI has increased by 90% over the past six months. In terms of visual and audio quality, upgrades in technology have enhanced the visual and sound experience of online streaming platforms. For example, iQIYI introduced Dolby Vision technology to 39 movies to improve the movie picture quality, and enhanced the audio quality of 15 movies by applying Dolby Atmos technology. In addition, an iQIYI innovation, ZoomAI video enhancement technology, has improved picture quality for online movies. 

In the long run, online streaming and theatrical releases can coexist and work in synergy. The cooperation and interaction between online and offline channels will be the new normal and support the development of movie content and technology in the film industry.

About Maoyan Entertainment

Maoyan Entertainment (Hong Kong: 1896) is a leading platform providing innovative Internet-empowered entertainment services in China. Since its inception, Maoyan has grown from an online movie ticketing service provider to an innovative one-stop platform for entertainment services. Maoyan has a comprehensive strategy to become a leading platform servicing the entire entertainment industry in China. The upgraded strategy is supported by five key platform pillars: online ticketing platform, products and services platform, data platform, marketing platform, and funding platform.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Edmond Lococo
ICR Inc.
Email: [email protected]
Tel: +86 138-1079-1408

SOURCE Maoyan Entertainment

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