From the Chinese press

Updated: 2013-09-27 07:01

(China Daily)

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The dilemma of movies' success

Altogether 66 movies were released in cinemas this summer. Of these, 16 registered box office returns of more than 100 million yuan each ($16.34 million). Although the total box office return was 5.82 billion yuan, it was contrasted by poor word-of-mouth promotion for the movies. In the age of the Internet, the film industry has used some new marketing methods but still has a large room for improvement, says an article in Economic Daily. Excerpts:

Traditionally, marketing and promotion of movies have included posters, billboards, outdoor advertisements and other mediums. With the advancement of the Internet and rise of new media, movie makers, big and small, have used newer mediums, including micro blogs or WeChat, to promote their productions.

Take the film Tiny Times for example. Its official account on Sina Weibo has about 310,000 followers and more than 900 micro blogs, drawing widespread public attention and enticing potential viewers to watch the movie.

Nowadays, many a production is described as a "fans movie", which attracts fans of either the actors or the director. For this special group of people, the movie is a must see and more often than not registers high box office returns irrespective of its production value, direction, acting and other production qualities.

But the fact remains that despite their popularity among a select group of people, and thus their success, fans movies are eventually abandoned by the market. The problem with such movies is their over-dependence on "star value", which ignores content and production qualities.

Social networking media have provided a more convenient channel and broader space for viewers to not only know about movies but also to participate in discussions over their content and other aspects.

From the movies screened on the big screen this summer vacation-many of which made good money despite poor ratings-we can get a general idea about the power of topic marketing. But effective as the marketing means is, the quality of the movies still leaves a lot to be desired. Most of them certainly could have done with better direction and/or acting, or post production expertise.

The domestic film market is entering the age of "great marketing", which will offer enormous market space along with the inherent challenges to filmmakers. The obvious suggestion one could put forward for the ascendant movie promotion market would be for filmmakers to get as close to the audience as possible and cater to their real needs.

(China Daily 09/27/2013 page9)