China to see digital boom

Entertainment company IM Global’s founder and CEO Stuart Ford told a conference in Shanghai, China that the country’s digital and pay-TV revenues, already significant, could become the biggest driver of the global movie market within 5 years.  IM global is active in the Chinese market, buying and selling content from and to China.

Ford was speaking at the Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF). “You don’t need to be a soothsayer to say that five years from now, digital and pay-TV revenues in China will be the single biggest revenue stream of any movie globally,” said Ford, adding that Chinese theatrical revenue streams would be bigger than the US in due course.

He praised the work and philosophy of Netflix and broadcasters like HBO and their ability to see beyond a “dumbing down” of content and instead being able to take creative risks with their content.

“We’re not yet familiar with how it’s happening here, but my personal feeling is that over a three to five-year period, Alibaba and Tencent will take plenty of creative risks to own premium content.  Amazon and their competitors are chasing prestige films – if you win the Oscar brand, that could have more value globally than just another popcorn movie.”

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