DALIAN, CHINA. As the only new media founder in the Chinese TMT industry invited, Zhao Hejuan, founder and CEO of TMTPost, attended a sub-forum of World Economic Forum’s 2017 Summer Davos Meeting and discussed the new changes of the Chinese entertainment environment along with other guests and the audience under the topic of “The New Era of China’s Entertainment”.
Other guests included: Wang Xiaohui, Chief Content Officer of iQiyi, Ying Shuling, CEO of Yingxiong Entertainment, Zhang Chi, vice president of China Cultural Industry Fund, Wu Bofan, president of Beijing Bofanstime Media Co., Ltd, and Rachel Catanach, president of Fleishman Hillard’s China operations.
Indeed, all major players along the industry chain, from content producers, distributors to platforms and capital funds have gathered together.
As the host, Wang Xiaohui came up with the topic “changes of today’s entertainment industry” at the very beginning of the discussion.
Zhao Hejuan took the lead and shared her opinion. For her, the wave of technological innovation has started to affect the entertainment industry. A case in point is the application of VR, AR and holographic projection technologies in the industry. The rise of these technologies has brought revolutionary changes to the industry’s models and forms. With over fifteen years of experience in finance, technology and innovation, Zhao was extremely sensitive to technological changes. “The entire entertainment industry, including business model and product model, is rapidly changing and getting mature, from replying solely on film and concert tickets to developing a full line of sideline industries,” she said.
As always, Zhao was quite critical of the problems in the entertainment industry. For example, he specifically mentioned the Angelababy’s poor acting in many films and TV series.
“One vital problem of the industry is the lack of ‘professionalism’. While good acting is not compulsory for Chinese actors and actresses, their American counterparts have to ensure good acting, primarily.”
Zhao’s frankness aroused heated discussion not only in the audience, but also among other guests.
“China is amid a giant crisis in terms of content production. Today, it’s already a high requirement to be fluent,” Wu Bofan said. For him, people’s addiction to games and fond of terrible films have taken a toll on the production of serious contents. For example, although novel-adapted TV series “White Deer Plain” is highly rated, it’s much less popular than other TV series starring some of the most beloved young and handsome actors.
Wu also mentioned three factors that may affect the future of the entertainment industry: audience, capital and technology (ACT).
- A (audience): As the younger generations will grow up in the background of a virtual world, they will becoming increasingly accustomed to the virtual world.
- C (capital): The preference of capital determines the final format of the entertainment industry.
- T (technology): Technology determines the type of entertainment products.
Speaking of the investment environment, Wu believed that “the Chinese theatre are filled with terrible films because there are simply too many investors.”
Speaking of the negative impact of capital on the entertainment industry, Zhang Chi also shared his thoughts.
“Today, entertainment products are no longer competing for absolute time, but rather fragmented time, such as the time before you go to sleep,” he explained.
Speaking of future trends in the entertainment consumption sector, Zhang mentioned “paid contents”. To illustrate his point, he mentioned that: while Netfilx already had 100 million paid subscribers, accounting for 40 to 50 per cent of the total internet users in the US, the total number of Chinese paid video subscribers has just reached 100 million, accounting for merely 10 per cent of the Chinese internet users.
“The golden era of paid contents is one the rise and there could be huge room for it in the future. In addition, the change brought by paid contents will further revolutionize the content production format and interaction mechanism up the industry chain,” Zhang added.
Following, Wu Bofan and Ying Shuling had a debate and again aroused heated discussion in the audience. While Wu believed that “games make people stupid”, Ying disagreed. “On the contrary, some games can boost intelligence,” he said. “The operation effect of some educational methods, when combined with the elements of games, can be even better,” Rachel Catanach shared his opinion and pointed out.
During the Q&A session, one spectator in the audience asked if the guests could give some suggestions towards the entertainment industry. In response, Rachel Catanach talked about cultural confidence and mentioned that while the Western world had made use of many Chinese cultural elements in films, the Chinese entertainment industry has yet to explore the potential of traditional Chinese culture and export cultural products to overseas audience.
At last, speaking of the commercialization of cultural contents, Zhao also shared his insights: “While the revenue of paid contents and website codes can be quantified, cultural values can not. Therefore, it could be extremely passive and difficult when it comes to proving one’s achievement and revenue conversion efficiency.”
[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Su Jianxun please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.