The Future of Film & Digital Production


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Santa Monica, CA

There has been for some time a big focus on the burgeoning growth of the cinema industry in China, in particular in terms of its revenue generation.  China’s box office sales grew an astounding number in 2015 alone and many projected that in 2016 its sales would eclipse those of the United States.  However, an unexpected paradigm shift in viewing mediums over the past few years meant that, in fact, the box office slowed.

What is the reason for this paradigm shift and what does the future hold for Chinese film and digital? Our resident expert on the subject, Michael Horvitz, provided some insight.

Attracted by the convenience and accessibility of streaming entertainment, people are opting to watch more movies and TV shows at home.  There were over 5 billion videos streamed online each month in 2015. In China, mediums like Echo or Iqiyi are popular due to their convenience and many people elect to watch first round releases in the comfort of their own homes as a result. The only types of movies that are immune to this paradigm shift are big-budget blockbusters wrought with special effects (3D and IMAX), think movies like Fast and Furious or X-Men, or even the recently-released XXX: Return of Xander Cage, which dominated the China box office upon its release in early February.

Why are we experts on the subject? As China’s foremost digital advertising agency, Hylink is in a unique position in that we hold 8 foreign film import licenses, enabling us to bring in 8 foreign films each year.  In 2016, One Piece, a popular Japanese anime feature grossed in excess of $80 million and was the most successful adult animated release of 2016.  We were also able to successfully manage product integration for the Chinese dairy company, Mengniu, in Independence Day 2 and further establish the brand’s image with an interactive website based on the film.  

Hylink is in the unique position of being able to utilize American content as a successful advertising platform in China, a key differentiator from our competitors that allows us to capitalize on our relationships with American production companies and studios and to aid our clients in navigating the advertising landscape beyond traditional Chinese platforms.

If we look towards the future, it’s safe to say that we’ll see the growth of production quality in film.  Chinese films that have truly 21st-century production quality and value equivalent to American blockbusters will continue to break records and mesmerize audiences.  This is due mostly to the growth of the film industry and related technological advancements, but also to the savviness of the Chinese audience, which demands a certain level of quality.  The future of Chinese filmmaking will be on par with or surpass that of the U.S. both because the growth of technology in China can support it and because audiences are discerning and experienced enough to recognize and appreciate quality.

Hylink as an agency has a responsibility and the opportunity to both encourage and educate our clients to usher in that further growth and adjust to the paradigm shift.

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