China’s movie industry is booming and is soon to surpass Hollywood in terms of box office revenue, a milestone that will make China the world’s largest movie market as soon as next year. Despite this success, movie industry revenue from consumer products in China still has some catching up to do.
Case in point: 80% of China’s film-related revenue comes from box office, whereas in North America, just 30% comes from ticket sales. This represents a huge opportunity for China’s movie marketers, considering the country’s massive population and its growing consumer purchasing power.
Industry executives from China and Hollywood discussed China’s nascent merchandising efforts at the Beijing International Film Festival’s first annual Chinese Film Merchandising Summit, held last month, according to a recent Hollywood Reporter article.
One of these efforts is the Beijing Film Academy‘s addition of a movie merchandising major to its film studies programs. The school is also collaborating with China Film Group, the country’s dominant state-backed film venture, to create a research institute for movie merchandising.
Meanwhile, Chinese media company Mtime is creating retail avenues for the sale of movie-related consumer products in China. It is doing so in part through a deal with real estate and investment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group to launch over 50 stores in cinemas in 10 cities. Mtime has also released a mobile app through which cinema chains can order licensed film goods directly to their theaters.
The industry’s ultimate goal is to provide Chinese consumers with movie merchandise for Hollywood properties like Iron Man and the Transformers, as well as for popular Chinese characters seen in The Monkey King and Monster Hunt.
A major challenge is related to copyright protection, which is needed to defend movie producers’ intellectual property from China’s massive bootleg operations. With such a huge windfall on the line, experts are no doubt on the case.
Industry Impact: Movie producers and distributors may find growing opportunities to market consumer products to audiences in China. Companies from outside China may want to seek partnerships with local merchandisers in order to conduct business there.
Amy Schein is an Industry Specialist at First Research, where she covers various aspects of the media industry. She earned her BS and MA in media studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Amy on Twitter.
Monster Hunt image courtesy of Dream Sky Entertainment/Edko Films.