Making moves in the online movie market
A subsidiary of online video giant iQiyi has streamed its first full-length motion picture — the company’s latest bid for a bigger slice of China’s massive online video market.
iQiyi’s newly established subsidiary, iQiyi Motion Picture, streamed its first featurelength title, Running! F, on May 22. The company had revealed plans toproduceeight movies with Chinese and Hollywood filmmakers last year.
Running! F is a 106-minute romantic comedy narrated by a 20-something college graduate struggling to realize her dream of becoming a costume designer.
Chen Huan, famous for his work as a variety show host on Zhejiang Satellite TV, codirects the movie along with Dong Wei. Chen also plays the owner of a design studio.
Although the film does not appear any different from a regular movie, with high-quality cinematography and sound, the film was not created for the cinemas but for the computer screen.
Producer and distributor, iQiyi says that the filmhasbeen tailored for the online market and created based on big-data research on netizen’s preferences. It will only be shown on iQiyi’s streaming website.
Co-director Dong says the “funny and grassroots-style” theme is a Chinese version of the Cinderella story, and will strike a chord with young people struggling for their dreams in big cities.
The movie is targeted at “those born in the 1980s and 1990s”, who are also the main group of people who access entertainment via thenetwork.
Li Yansong, CEO of iQiyi Motion Picture, saysRunning! F is part of the new “Internet film” genre.
“The‘Internet films’ (created only for the online market) are those with a low or mid-range budget from 500,000 yuan ($81,000) to 4 million yuan. It has no large-scale film sets and takes comparatively less time to shoot and develop during post-production. The core highlight is the story,” he says.
The latest figures available show that China’s online population surged to 649 million at the end of last year. Nearly two-thirds of those people are used to watching TV series and films on mobile devices.
Research by several major streaming websites show that most commuters in big cities spend around 90 minutes commuting every day. Many watch movies or TV shows on their smartphones to kill time.
Yu Yongyang, the head of Internet film department at iQiyiMotion Picture, says the company makes money by charging 5 yuan for every movie.
“Viewers can watch the first six minutes of a movie for free. After that, they need to pay 5 yuan to get the full version,” he says, adding that the “Internet movies” also include those with limited screenings or those not allowed to be released in theaters.
Around 400 movies, streamed by iQiyi last year, have earned a total online boxoffice revenue of 50 million yuan.