Film business leaders on VOD business model and global trends

ICCI 2023-07-03 1

On June 12th, the 9th Global Film Industry Value Chain Development Forum, official program of 25th Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF), co-hosted by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Motion Picture Association (MPA) was held at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Hao HU, Director of the Publicity Department, Member of the CPC SJTU Standing Committee

Hao HU expressed that as the birthplace of Chinese films and the root of the Chinese-language film industry, Shanghai films have always highlighted both quantity and quality, constantly climbing new heights, and creating brilliant achievements for the Chinese film industry.

Zhonglun REN, Vice Chairman of the China Film Association

Zhonglun REN  emphasized in his opening speech that the film industry is undergoing profound changes as the world enters the digital age. With the aid of digital technology, the barriers to art have been lowered, while the quality and artistic standards have increased. According to Ren, all art is the product of human creativity, and as long as people use their wisdom and emotions to express the essence of humanity, the source of creative inspiration will not be lost.

The Global Trend of Online Video-on-demand (VOD) Business Model

Speakers discuss the VOD business model and global trend

As digital technology and smart home appliances develop and become more popular, VOD technology has become a hot topic in the film distribution industry. VOD is an interactive TV-on-demand system that allows users to watch movies or programs on demand anytime, anywhere through their TV, computer, or mobile device, breaking the limitations of time and space. VOD has become a preferred viewing method for many viewers and a powerful competitor for theatrical distribution.

Wei FENG, Vice-president, Asia-Pacific Region and President, Greater China Region of the Motion Picture Association of America

As digital technology and smart home appliances develop and become more popular, VOD technology has become a hot topic in the film distribution industry. Through the moderation of Wei FENG, many industry executives shared their insights on online VOD model.

Yali CAO, the president of BestTV

Cao Yali shared data on their services at the forum and stated that VOD had become a supplement to the in-person performing arts market in recent years, with an increase in users' willingness to pay. In response to the positive developments regarding TV, BestTV is combining digital methods such as big data and artificial intelligence to enhance targeted and personalized services based on users' viewing habits and to meet the individual needs of more users.

Jack Gao, CEO of Smart Cinema

For Jack Gao, CEO of Smart Cinema, the digitization transformation has completely overturned the traditional separation between production and distribution in the film and television industry. The film veteran envisioned new scenarios for future viewing experiences in the film and television industry and is looking forward to devices such as Apple's Vision Pro headset, Google's Android TV, and ZEASN Information Group's Whale OS new-generation smart TV. He hopes that all parties in the industry can pay attention, participate, and innovate in a timely manner. He believes traditional cinemas and broadcast televisions' advantages are disappearing rapidly, while mobile cinemas and VOD platforms will explore new business models to support high-cost and high-risk film and television content production while maintaining sustainable development.

Ning YA, president of iQiyi Pictures

Ning YA introduced iQiyi's various attempts in the context of digital and smart development. For instance, the pay-per-view model of cloud cinema provides consumers with more high-quality movies and increases their chance of watching new and excellent films. The flexible pricing model and higher revenue-sharing ratio have also gained support from filmmakers, creating a win-win situation. Ya also discussed the release window issue, mentioning how iQiyi hoped to include online platform revenue in box office statistics. He pointed out, the release window system is a complex issue that concerns upstream and downstream of the entire film industry chain, and cinemas need to survive and are sensitive to release windows. Currently, premium VOD's window in China is approximately 30 days.

Dai HUANG, general manager and senior vice president of Sony Pictures Entertainment China

Huang Dai said that in the digital age, big data and algorithms have made audiences the main voters. The repeat consumption of digital content and the current state of comprehensive creation means that the marginal cost of digital content can infinitely expand. To face this challenge, Sony will strictly control story content, improve the accuracy of its cost and revenue calculations, and create higher-quality content based on Chinese audiences' consumption ability and concepts. She also mentioned the uniqueness of VOD, which enables content providers to make more money on the platform and expand income sources for creators through online distribution.

Xiaoli JIANG, CEO of DTA (Huanyu Trust)

Xiaoli JIANG believes that VOD technology can break the constraints of time and space, allowing users to experience the joy of watching movies in a more diverse spatial environment. Jiang has high hopes for the revenue-sharing premium VOD model, hoping to build a high-security, cinema-level content protection environment, and a trusted third-party accounting platform to help this emerging model develop sustainably and provide more choices and opportunities for both filmmakers and consumers.

Technology Empowered Cultural and Creative Industries

Weimin ZHANG, Dean of ICCI

A panel of film and cultural industry executives led by Weimin ZHANG, discussed how virtual shooting technology can drive the development of cultural and creative industries.

Dun CAO, Director and screenwriter of "The Longest Day in Chang'an"

Dun CAO, spoke about the importance of filmmakers adapting to new technology and learning its advantages and limitations.

Jiaqi CHENG, President of Fosun Film Group

Jiaqi CHENG said virtual production technology has been widely applied in various film and television businesses, greatly enhancing the efficiency of film production and improving the quality of content development in the Fosun Film Group.

Lian LI, Founder and President of Versatile Media

Lian LI discussed the challenges of animation film-making including its long cycles, technological restraints, and difficulties in acquiring funding for young directors. He analyzed the necessity and importance of introducing virtual production technology in film-making. He believed that virtual production represents a new revolution in the film industry, requiring a higher level of technical expertise.

Lvwei LING, Chairman of Wuxi Studios

As a national-level film and television industry base, Wuxi Studios has always centered the key element of "digital film and television technology." Its chairman, Lvwei LING, stated that virtual production brings both new challenges and opportunities.

Suyue ZHOU, chief expert of Changsha Malanshan Video Cultural and Creative Industrial Park

Suyue ZHOU shared his experience with the direction of industrialization in the Hollywood film industry. Zhou emphasized the cloud-based, remote collaborative, and use of artificial intelligence. ZHOU also demonstrated the current development of virtual production and the scarcity of digital assets in virtual production.