Access to public data is revolutionizing the way in which the Chinese movie streaming industry designs its films, which seek to capture the tastes of the public
Changes in technology brought more data about the audience and with them the battle between the Chinese mainstreaming platforms has begun. With the certainty of a specific audience, movies made for streaming platforms have rapidly become high-quality feature films.
iQiyi, an online video platform based in Beijing launched in 2010, is currently one of the largest online video sites in China and Ge Xufeng, deputy general manager of the Membership Business Department at iQiyi, interviewed by Technode, said that: “We’re able to gather a lot of data about content from how it is viewed—at what point someone stops watching, which bits they go back and watch again—and then from the other facts such as age and gender. This can be passed on to [production] partners along with the danmu (viewer comments tagged to a particular moment of a program) from iQiyi and the discussion page, along with information about where people are sharing [links to] the content”.
Ma Zhongjun, President and Chairman of Ciwen Media Group Co., stressed the importance of data: “With the big data generated, we can say let’s do this type of drama and tap into its fanbase, or into a previous fanbase or a particular actor’s fanbase or that of a novel. This way, even before we start production we’re already talking to them. Then when we start filming we can share trailers and have a conversation. It’s not like the closed circuit of the past”.
Online TV series have revolutionized the market and a single episodes of top series costs over 8,000 times as much to make as they did a decade ago. Furthermore, for technode respondents, the current Hollywood model is a top-down approach out of step with the internet age.
Ma Zhongjun, also points out that the future of Chinese cinema may be that of the specific public: “I think the subdivision of the internet will become clearer and clearer in the future because big data will give you a picture. A picture of what and where the audience is will emerge and tell you what to make. Small and medium cost movies, those based on specialist literature and art, will be able to find a corresponding crowd, which will be enough for them to live”. So to the Americans the general public and to the Chinese all those who want to see something special on the internet.