Maoyan: China's Online Entertainment Market Booming with the COVID-19 Pandemic While China's movie industry was severely hit by the pandemic, the online entertainment market, including TV and streaming platforms, were booming as people were confined to their homes

By Entrepreneur Staff

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Maoyan

Maoyan Entertainment ("Maoyan" or "the Company") (Hong Kong: 1896), a leading platform providing innovative Internet-empowered entertainment services in China, released a report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on China's entertainment industry. While China's movie industry was severely hit by the pandemic, the online entertainment market, including TV and streaming platforms, were booming as people were confined to their homes, according to the report.

As of March 15, the China theatrical releases of 44 movies had been canceled or postponed, including 16 imported movies, according to the report that examines the pandemic's impact on China's entertainment industry. Maoyan Zhiduoxing, an entertainment data analysis platform, released the report.

The Chinese New Year holiday is traditionally the most important movie season for China's box office revenues. In 2019, the Chinese New Year holiday contributed 14% of the total annual box office. With movie theaters shut down nationwide this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual box office would suffer a significant decline over last year, according to the report.

While offline entertainment activities came to a halt with the pandemic, the online entertainment market, including TV and streaming platforms, were booming as people were confined to their homes, according to the report.

TV viewership experienced an enormous surge in China during the pandemic. For the extended ten-day Chinese New Year holiday (January 24 to February 2), the audience in China spent an average of 347 minutes watching TV per day, up 33% over the previous ten days (January 14 to 23), and 13% more than the same holiday period in 2019. People were more concerned about the pandemic development. From January 27 to February 9, the average time spent watching TV news programs per day increased by 153% year-over-year to 135 minutes, according to the report.

The pandemic also led to soaring traffic for online streaming platforms. Total users increased by 17.4% to reach 310 million during the Chinese New Year holiday compared to a regular week (January 2 to 8), while users spent an average of 98 minutes daily on such platforms during the holiday. The most-watched shows were medical dramas, comedy, family, romance, and classical movies/TV dramas.

Total users of online streaming
platforms (millions)

2019 Chinese New Year holiday
(February 4 to 10)

289

2020 regular week

(January 2 to 8)

264

2020 Chinese New Year holiday

(January 24 to February 2)

310

Average daily time spent on online streaming platforms per user (minutes)

iQiyi

Tencent Video

Mango TV

Bilibili

2019 Chinese New Year
holiday (February 4 to 10)

61

54

62

100

2020 Chinese New Year
holiday (January 24 to
February 2)

74

68

88

111

With the growing popularity of online streaming platforms, some movies gave up their theatrical releases to turn to streaming platforms. On January 24, the highly-anticipated comedy "Lost in Russia" became the first Chinese movie released online for free on ByteDance platforms, including TikTok, Xigua Video, and Toutiao. It achieved more than 600 million views within the first three days. Another Chinese comedy "Enter the Fat Dragon" also moved to iQiyi and Tencent Video on February 1, and viewers can pay for early-access. The movie generated 63 million paid views on Tencent Video platform within the first three days.

A total of 26 web movies were released online during Chinese New Year holiday this year, nearly half of which were on iQiyi platform. The average daily views of these web movies jumped by 100% compared with the same holiday period last year, according to the report.

As an entertainment data analysis platform, Maoyan Zhiduoxing (smarter.maoyan.com) provides users with data to cover the full breadth of entertainment categories, including movies, TV dramas, variety shows, novels, artist events, and online entertainment events. The platform's multi-dimensional data analysis capabilities encompass thousands of dimensions of data indicators.

The report is based on data from Maoyan Zhiduoxing and other sources, including Kuyun, CSM Media Research, QuestMobile, Enlightent, MobTech, and the National Radio and Television Administration.

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