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The biggest enemy of the film and television industry in 2020 is the epidemic, and this enemy is likely to continue to exist in a certain form in 2021. But the dawn of the film industry has gleamed in the dark, and it is the desire to watch movies that the market has accumulated for a long time.
The courage of the film and television people is given by “the strongest Spring Festival file in history”. As of 0:00 on February 18, the total real-time box office of Chinese New Year movies has exceeded 8 billion yuan, far exceeding the box office of the same period in previous years, setting a number of world records such as single-day box office in the global single market and weekend box office in the global single market.
This is a wave of blood that has come too long. In 2020, the box office of the Chinese film market created 20.417 billion yuan, which is 68.2% less than the 64.3 billion in 2019.
Not everyone can wait until the demand for the Spring Festival stalls is released. Many companies were consumed by the 178 days when the production crew and theaters were closed. According to data, as of December 25, 2020, the number of film and television companies shut down last year reached 9,860, and 2,814 theater companies. Among the 27 A-share film and television animation companies, 23 companies have experienced negative gains and losses in the past year, and only 4 have achieved positive gains.
The surviving film and television companies turned to streaming media for help. During the 2020 Spring Festival, there will be a movie “囧 Mom” on the Internet for free. Watermelon video will be launched for free in the Spring Festival of 2020. In the 2021 Spring Festival, there will be two theatrical movies, “The Legend of Shaolin Temple” and “Fortune Diary”. Launched iQiyi, Youku, and Tencent Video.
Ai Yu Teng also has its own advances and retreats. According to the financial reports for the third quarter of 2020, Tencent Video’s membership number exceeded 120 million, becoming the video platform with the largest number of members at present; iQiyi finally completed the price increase, but it also witnessed the relentless decline in the number of total subscription members-three The total number of subscribers in the quarter was 104.8 million, which has decreased year-on-year. It was only 106.9 million in the fourth quarter when the financial report was released on the 18th. Youku continued to accompany the run, except for “Chasing Light!” “Brother”, there is almost no sense of existence this year.
The three major video websites continue to maintain a three-pronged situation, but the flames of change have faintly flashed. Except for Youku, which does not announce the number of subscription members, the other two have experienced a decline in membership growth or even negative growth. This proves that the long video market has entered an unstoppable period of stagnant membership.
In addition, the game of buying content at a loss has also been catalyzed by the epidemic to accelerate its convergence. In 2020, the reduction of advertising costs in various industries has led to a decline in advertising expenditures. As a result, the advertising revenues of video websites have been hit hard, and they have been more careful when they are involved in spending money. IQiyi’s single-quarter net loss in the first three quarters of 2020 has gradually narrowed, but at the same time, total revenue has also continued to decline, which means that its business has become smaller.
2020 was originally the year when the long video war of attrition was the closest to its end. Tencent Video, which claims to be “one-handed and one-handed,” is still very supportive. It is specifically expressed as “planning to invest nearly 100 billion in content development costs in the next three years” (about 50 billion in 2018-2020). But the other two are not very comfortable. Alibaba Ventures bought the equity of Mango Media, and iQiyi continued to report sales, which drove several waves of excitement in the stock market. However, the end of the year coincided with the Internet anti-monopoly trend, and finally there was no follow-up. If iQiyi goes to Hong Kong for a second listing in 2021, it may be the beginning of a longer struggle.
But streaming media also has new aspects. In addition to the fact that Huanxi Media, which owns Huanxi’s premiere platform, was invested by Station B in mid-2020, Hengteng Network, which is backed by Wanda and Tencent and owns Pumpkin Movies, also announced that the number of paying users increased by nearly one million in January. There was a leap, which attracted the attention of the market.
Film and Television: Cinemas and streaming media continue to play
The situation in the film and television industry is complex. On the one hand, “the strongest Spring Festival stall in history” hit 8 billion box office, allowing filmmakers to see the hope of rejuvenation. On the other hand, the impact of the epidemic still exists, and the theater has to worry more about Aiyou Tengmang and Bytedance who are at the door.
Image source: China Sea Securities Research Institute
Let me talk about the traditional cinemas first. In the Spring Festival stalls when the market is hungry, the theater is hungry, and the producers are even hungry, everyone is playing dirty and eating frantically, regardless of the rules.
The entertainment hard candy article mentioned that the ticket price of “Tang Detective 3” in a Beijing movie theater increased by 5 yuan every half an hour, and even the seat partition price was hit, and the center location was 5 yuan higher than the edge location. After “Hello, Li Huanying” became the sun’s crown, it became the new price increase target for the theater manager.
2021 Spring Festival stalls fare increase significantly
Movies with poor attendance rates, such as “Samurai God Order”, will even be temporarily cancelled and replaced with the dark horse “Li Huanying”. The same low attendance rate of “Rushing Crowds” even dropped sharply, and director Rao Xiaozhi had to post on Weibo to ask for the theater lineup.
Movies with good box office performance have increased significantly, and audiences are gathering in the top movies
Under the joint promotion of the audience and the cinema, the box office of the Spring Festival stalls showed a clear oligarchic effect. As of 22:00 on the 17th, “Tang Detective 3” scored 45.49% of the total box office, “Li Huanying” scored 34.8%, and the remaining 5 movies can only eat up 20% of the box office.
Although the Spring Festival stalls are good, not everyone can get a share. Directed by Rao Xiaozhi, and starring Andy Lau, Xiao Yang, and Wan Qian, the movie “The Crowd” finally broke 100 million yuan at the box office on February 16th, ranking bottom among the seven films in the Spring Festival. This is a pity for a 7.2-point movie. If you stagger the Spring Festival or simply publish it online, maybe the performance will be better than it is now.
That’s not a mere rhetoric. During the Spring Festival, there were two movies: “The Legend of Shaolin Temple” and “Fortune Diary” boldly “turned to the Internet” and automatically retired from the competition. Although the movie ratings are average, the “box office” is really good.
As of 22:00 on the 17th, the cumulative broadcasts of these two movies on streaming media were 67,719,300 and 73,520,800 respectively. The current Internet Spring Festival movie payment method is 6 yuan/piece for members and 12 yuan/piece for non-members. It is calculated that the box office of the Internet Spring Festival this year is between 847-1994 million, which is about the same as the first-day box office of “Tang Detective 3”.
“The Legend of Shaolin Temple” is directed by Tang Jili and starring Wang Baoqiang; “Fortune Diary” is directed by Song Xiaobao, starring Song Xiaobao, Ma Li, and Sha Yi. Both works are comedies.
Both Tang Jili and Li Jinhan, the producer of “Fortune Diary”, said that the movie was produced in accordance with the specifications of theatrical movies, not a shoddy web. “Online movies are just broadcast platforms through the Internet, and the entire production process is no different from all the movies previously shot.” Tang Jili said.
“Fortune Diary” poster
The money not made during the Spring Festival of 2020 can be re-earned, but the changes that have taken place in 2020 are unstoppable. The hospital transfer network is one of them.
Warner overseas has cancelled the window period, and domestic iQiyi, Youku, and Tencent Video have jointly launched “online movie Spring Festival files.” The theater owners protested that the voice of “囧 Ma” transferred to the Internet has been obliterated. This time, they “response to the call of the Network Audiovisual Program Management Department of the State Administration of Radio and Television.”
On February 6, under the guidance of the Network Audiovisual Program Management Department of the State Administration of Radio and Television, the Network Film Working Committee of the China Film Association and Aiyou Teng jointly put forward the concept of “online film Spring Festival files”. Of course, it doesn’t mean that all New Year’s films have to be transferred online-the three streaming media have obtained two “quality films that can be played in theaters”, “The Legend of Shaolin Temple” and “Fortune Diary”, which are online in the Spring Festival file. Released.
The two films landed on the three platforms on the first day of the Lunar New Year in PVOD mode. In addition to these two “campaign-to-net” works, the three platforms have also launched more than 40 new online movies and blockbusters for free cinema, to support this “online movie Spring Festival file”.
Iyuteng has eagerly seized this opportunity. During the Spring Festival, Tencent Video will “mobilize cinema-level marketing resources” to provide process support and off-site drainage for key projects; iQIYI will jointly market high-quality S-level movies and invest a million-level cash; Youku will integrate Ali Eco Resources, Vice President of Alibaba Group and Head of Ali Entertainment Film Business Li Jie even called “The Legend of Shaolin Temple” and “Fa Cai Diary” “should be two movies that must have their names in the history of Chinese online movies. “
In fact, there are very limited movies that are suitable for “in-house transfer” and also willing to “in-house transfer”. So far, “囧Mom” and this year’s two works are both comedies and do not have a strong reliance on the big screen. Even Tang Jili, who is willing to eat crabs, is unwilling to broadcast his action blockbuster “Vanguard” online. Moreover, “囧Mom” Douban scored 5.9 points, and “Mulan” Douban scored 5.0 points. It seems that it is indeed a better level than the next. It is very popular on the Internet, but it must be compensated if it is placed on the theater.
This is indeed the case. “The Legend of Shaolin Temple” currently has a rating of 4.2 on Douban and 6.0 on “Fa Cai Diary”. Although it claims to be higher than Wang Da’s production specifications, it seems that the audience’s evaluation of them does not exceed Wang Da. In fact, the streaming media rescued them from the vicious battle with “Tang Detective 3” and “Li Huanying” for the Spring Festival file.
Although the problem is not serious enough to make the theater disappear completely, it is a fact that the voice of the theater has weakened. Moreover, as long as the epidemic is not brought under global control, streaming media’s influx of theaters will continue.
Guohai Securities believes that within 1-2 years (2021-2022), cinema chains are one of the important channels for content dissemination, and its financial data will still be very important; within 5-10 years (2025-2030), the generation of new technologies will drive With the new experience economy, the viewing function of traditional cinemas may be replaced by another experience or not the core function in 10 years, but the physical existence of cinemas cannot be replaced.
Huanxi Media CEO Xiang Shaokun also mentioned in an interview with 36 krypton at the end of 2020 that he believes that the ideal state is to “let the movie be shown in the cinema first and then go online.” Moreover, from the point of view of joy, the biggest source of economic benefits is still generated in movie theaters, and then streaming media.
“We think that the worry about the complete disappearance of movie theaters is unnecessary. At the same time, audiences’ habits of watching movies are indeed changing. More people are beginning to get used to watching movies and dramas on mobile phones, computers, and iPads. Regardless of whether there is an epidemic, Regardless of whether Warner and Disney do hospital transfers, this trend is happening. I think cinema and streaming will still coexist in the future.” Xiang Shaokun said.
Make money: advertising, member price increases, advanced on-demand and D2C
The aggressive streaming media also has its own worries. Affected by the epidemic, the advertising business of several parent video platforms was not easy to do last year.
According to the “2021 China Digital Marketing Trend Report”, in 2020, the growth of actual overall corporate marketing expenses will slow down for the first time, with a growth rate of only 8%. From 2017 to 2019, they were 17%, 18%, and 20%. Moreover, Aiyou Tenman also needs to compete with the growing short video platform for this meager user attention growth.
According to the Kuaishou prospectus, in the first half of this year, Kuaishou’s online marketing service revenue was 7.2 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 222.5%; in contrast, iQiyi’s advertising revenue in the first half of the year was 3.1 billion yuan, less than half of the counterparty’s.
Fortunately, with the gradual control of the epidemic, the advertising market is expected to recover. The same report predicts that the actual overall growth rate of corporate marketing expenses in 2021 will reach 17%. Moreover, 78% of advertisers indicated that they will increase their digital marketing spending in 2021. 28% of advertisers have increased their digital marketing budget by more than 30%, an actual increase of 5 percentage points from 2020.
The advertising revenue of iQiyi in the first three quarters of 2020 will be RMB 1.537 billion, RMB 1.586 billion, and RMB 1.84 billion, with year-on-year growth rates of -27%, -28%, and -11%. Although it is not as good as last year, it has maintained revenue growth for two consecutive quarters, showing signs of recovery.
Online variety shows are the most concerned by advertisers, followed by online dramas and TV variety shows.
In addition to advertising, the membership income business of video sites is also ushering in a moment of change. On November 6, 2020, iQiyi announced the adjustment of the subscription fee for the gold VIP membership service. In the past 9 years, video platform members finally completed their first price increase. After the adjustment, the price increase of iQiyi Gold VIP members was 17.24%-28.89%.
In the face of iQiyi’s price increase, Tencent Video has not yet taken actual measures to follow up, but Tencent’s Chief Strategy Officer James Michel said, “Tencent Video’s member price of 20 yuan is relatively low. When the time is right, Will consider adjusting the price, the specific situation depends on the industry competition”, has released a follow-up signal.
Not surprisingly, Tencent Video should launch a price increase policy when several major dramas go online in 2021. The industry may enter a price increase cycle.
Comparing the member prices of the four major online video sites, before the price adjustment, iQiyi had a stronger promotion in the first cycle of continuous monthly/seasonal/annual packages, and the prices of the other gears were basically at the industry median; after the price adjustment, Iqiyi Qiyi has increased by more than 10% compared to the average member price of Mango TV at each end, and about 20% higher than the average member price of Tencent/Youku at each end, and the price gap between members on various platforms has further widened. It is very likely that Tencent Video will follow up on price increases.
Western Securities Research believes that effective price increases have a greater contribution to net profit. Because there are more promotional activities on video websites, the increase in nominal prices does not necessarily lead to an increase in ARPU. However, if we simply assume that the price increase can bring about a 10% increase in ARPU, take the financial data of Hunan Satellite TV’s wholly-owned subsidiary Happy Sunshine in the first half of 2020 as an example, the corresponding contribution to the incremental net profit of the parent is 14%.
In addition to advertising and membership fees, there is a high probability that several companies will continue to advance the advanced on-demand model in 2021. Although the two popular dramas “Chen Qing Ling” and “Qing Yu Nian” caused a bit of public opinion trouble for Tencent Video and iQiyi because of their advanced on-demand broadcasting, they were eventually pushed forward strongly because of the high profits of the model.
In the past year, Aiyou Tengmang promoted hundreds of episodes to start advanced on-demand, and the cost was uniformly adjusted to 3 yuan/episode. However, the total price of long and short episodes still produced a huge difference. “The Silent Truth” offers advanced on-demand options 3 days after it went live. You can purchase 6 episodes with one click for 18 yuan to see the finale. But to watch the last 33 episodes of the 59-episode drama “Liu Li”, it costs 99 yuan.
Advance on-demand looks like the prototype of the D2C (Direct-to-Consumer) model. Gong Yu, founder and CEO of iQiyi, said when he announced the 2021 film list:
“Maybe in the next five to ten years, creators can directly present content to viewers at a very low cost, which is called D2C (Direct-to-Consumer). For example, content creators use DRM digital copyright protection to package and transmit to love. On the platform of Qiyi, iQiyi is like electricity and water in a city. After it is uploaded to it, anyone who has seen your film will leave a trace. You upload the packaged film directly to the terminal, iQiyi As a platform, it is just a public service such as transmission and promotion. The quality of your work determines the box office revenue, influence, number of viewers, etc. of your work.”
However, currently, there are still a small number of members who have used advance on-demand. According to the statistics of Guduo Network Film and Television, only 12.79% of users said that they have spent money on advance on-demand dramas, while 87.21% of users said they have not used advance on-demand. Advanced on-demand has very high requirements for content quality and subject matter, especially pure D2C. The possibility of a creative party eating crabs and sticking their mouths is very high.
“For example, a drama with an investment of 300 million yuan, if you only rely on user fees and charge 10 yuan per person, 30 million people will need to pay to recover the cost and not make a profit. But now there are several dramas in this market. Pull 30 million new members?” Wang Xiaohui said in an interview with 36 krypton.
This is not a simple proposition that can find an answer in 2021. Promoting users to pay for a single work should become a longer-term strategy for several parent video platforms. This change is destined to happen, and a larger force is driving it.
“In the past, everyone did a one-shot deal. The film company sold the drama to the platform and it would not have greater value. In the past, when money was good, everyone didn’t have to think about it.” Wang Xiaohui said.
“But now that the overall environment is not good, we can only force everyone to think about how can I maintain a closer relationship with users and how can I get more business benefits from users. In fact, the situation is forcing companies to go. change.”
A new way closer to money: long video + e-commerce + marketing
“The situation is pushing companies” is true. After experiencing the gloomy 2020, several companies have reached agreement on the choice of new roads.
In August 2020, Hunan Radio and Television launched the “Xiaomang” e-commerce project. In September, Xie Shaoqiang, general manager of the Mango TV E-commerce Center, stated at an internal recruitment presentation that “Mango TV only needs to convert 1/3 of its video users to e-commerce users, and the scale can approach JD.com.”
In October, iQiyi announced that it will rely on the new consumer value network to create a tens of billions of iQiyi “Kangaroo” brand support programs, and provide support for the three major resources of brand content IP, celebrity artists, and traffic to help young, interesting and satisfying emerging Lifestyle brand growth.
In December, Tencent Video began recruiting e-commerce MCN agencies, inviting “a high-quality supply chain, strong live broadcast capabilities, and strong ability to pass anchors” to join, and promised to provide “multi-directional traffic tilt + perfect cooperation, training, Subsidy policy”.
Youku doesn’t need to be mentioned, it has long been part of Alibaba’s e-commerce system. At the Alibaba Global Investor Conference 2020, Alibaba announced that it will focus on three tracks on Youku’s short video and live broadcast, namely “Quick Watch”, “Out of the Box” and “Star Live”. “Out of the box” provides a closed loop of decision-making for trendy high-end products from planting grass to purchasing, focusing on women, mothers and babies, and trendy play categories, opening up the product library and supply chain of Taobao, Tmall, Tmall International, and koala, and e-commerce Live broadcasts complement each other; Youku “Star Live” recombines the three elements of celebrity, content, and consumption to explore the field of content e-commerce.
Compared with the membership business, where a few yuan increase will invite users to unsubscribe, and the advertising business, which is still recovering from the overall recession, e-commerce is obviously faster and more direct.
On January 21, 2021, the Xiaomang App launched version 4.1.2 “Xiaomang-Shangxiaomang Buying Sister 2 Same Style”, to promote the second season of “Sister Riding the Wind and Waves”, inviting female artists to settle in and release variety shows. Video guides the audience to transform into consumers. Currently, Xiaomang has more than 10,000 product SKUs, mainly self-operated products. Users can jump from the short video works page to the product page.
At present, Aiyou Tengmang is all targeting e-commerce, but the game is very different. Youku, which has Ali’s e-commerce thigh, naturally wants to assist Taobao and Tmall, while iQiyi, which has no e-commerce thigh, wants to assist the new brand in marketing. Daily Heiqiao and Zihai Pot used iQiyi to collaborate with artists such as “China New Rap 2020” and “Non-Daily Party” and artists such as THE9 members Liu Yuxin and Yu Shuxin through iQiyi last year. These are typical cases of iQiyi’s model.
In contrast, Mango’s model seems to be the heaviest one: popular variety shows + celebrity short videos + celebrity same styles + self-operated, but considering that this is a business that has just been established less than half a year, the direction is still being explored , Has caught up with “Lang Jie 2”, a popular variety show that has to be smashed. Maybe Xiaomang’s model will gradually be adjusted in 2021.