While in the U.S., the termination of conventional movie theater chains has been a rising concern amongst cinema-goers as the streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon continue to expand, offering high quality, cost-efficient content. Across the Pacific, in China, streaming services seem to desire to integrate into their subscription into physical theaters for offline screenings.
One of the most visited websites in China, the streaming giant, iQiyi, has opened its first theater location in southern China. The company’s main goal with this first step is to create a network of theaters that would allow viewers to choose the content and timing of the screenings.
iQiyi has also been recently active on the global marker, penning a deal with a leading sales and distribution team, FilmNation Entertainment for exclusive VoD output of FilmNation’s content. These activities clearly establish iQiyi as a service that is looking to expand and dominate both the domestic and international distribution markets in China, something that can also be sensed in a statement released by iQiyi’s Senior VP, Yang Xianghua: “The development of on-demand movie theaters poses an exciting opportunity to increase the strength and overall scale of China’s film industry.”
With the move of subscription-based theater-going becoming the norm in the United States with MoviePass, it wouldn’t be surprising of streaming giants like Netflix took a similar route in the future.