China’s Netflix-like service, iQIYI announced Monday that it has launched a physical movie theater at Zhongshan, Guangzhou City, marking the landing of the on-demand cinema strategy of iQIYI.
This Chinese major online streaming platform will participate in the market construction of the on-demand cinema industry with its advantages of brand, user, IP, content, and technology.
iQIYI has opened the first theater named “Yuker” that will allow consumers to select the content, as well as the time and location for viewing. Besides, Dolby also supports technology for films from iQIYI’s online movie collection.
The "iQIYI Yuker cinema" official account on WeChat was launched by iQIYI as well, which allows users to select films and screening rooms in the account, and then tell the shop assistant to see which film is available for purchase.
As an online entertainment platform, iQIYI has obvious advantages in contents, and hold cooperation with major film companies inbound and overseas already.
“iQIYI has cooperated with the China Research Institute of Film Science & Technology and finished the data docking with National Film Development Funds Management Committee,” said Li Wen, vice president of iQIYI. It means the box office receipts generated in “Yuker” cinema will be included in China’s official box office estimates.
It creates opportunities for the integration of retail services and offline consumption, with merchandise related to iQIYI online content available for purchase in cinemas.
“iQIYI will take advantage of its strong brand awareness, massive user base, popular content and advanced technology to contribute to the growth of this booming market and extend our premium viewing experience to offline consumers,” said Yang Xianghua, senior vice president of iQIYI.
“This move can also help to increase the strength and overall scale of China’s film industry,” Yang added.
But iQIYI will face market competition unavoidable while having content and membership advantages. In view of the potential space of on-demand cinema, there have a lot of company started to plan their own on-demand cinema such as 1905 which is owned by a movie channel.
Compared with these “veterans”, iQIYI’s offline operation ability will be tested and brand confrontation is inevitable.
The launch of “Yuker” cinemas will make iQIYI the first major online entertainment platform to tap into the on-demand cinema market. And they prepare to launch more throughout China in the coming months.