Web Movie Craze in China, 784 Films Released During 2020
According to local media, the first Chinese ‘web movie release event’ was officially launched ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday this year.
Under the leadership of China's National Radio and Television Administration, the Web Film Commission under the Chinese Film Council led the event in partnership with China's three major video platforms, iQIYI, Tencent, and Youku.
With this event, a total of 43 web films will be released on three major platforms during the Lunar New Year holiday this year. Web movie viewership costs 6 yuan per movie and non-members 12 yuan per movie, which is cheaper than theaters.
No specific figures have been released yet for the Lunar New Year web-film box office. However, according to statistics from the Chinese movie reservation site Maoyan, the number of viewers of the movie <發財日記> reached 3,8354,000 just two days after the online screening began. Considering the membership price, the company earned 230 million yuan (39.5 billion won) in box office profits in two days.
Web films began to gain popularity in China in earnest last year when the COVID19 outbreak broke out. Last year, theaters during the Lunar New Year were shut down and
<Lost in Russia>, which was the most anticipated movie during the holiday at the time, became popular by changing its strategy by releasing online through a video platform in partnership with Chinese Internet company ByteDance.
Last year, the Chinese web movie market exploded. According to the "2020 Chinese Web
Film Report," a total of 1,089 films were released in China last year, of which 784 were released on the web, accounting for 72% of the total.
Among the web films, 79 movies earned more than 10 million yuan at the box office, accounting for 10 percent of the total web films. This figure has doubled compared to 2019. The box office 10 million yuan movies earned a total of 1.39 billion yuan, up 125% year-on-year.
Web movies in the past are gradually disappearing from the perception that they are low-budget, and that the quality is getting as good as movies released in theaters. According to the actual report, the proportion of movies with a budget of 3 million yuan or less in the web movie market last year was 40%, down more than 10% from 51% in the previous year, while movies with a budget of 6 million yuan or more increased to 34%.
Along with COVID 19, increasingly digitalized platforms also appear to be affecting changes in the media industry. According to this change, various contents are expected to approach viewers with a diversified strategy in the growing media market.