Mak­ing moves in the on­line movie mar­ket

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By XU­FAN xu­fan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

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