Tencent, Alibaba and Wanda are trying to gain dominance in the entertainment sector. Getting hold of the distribution is one of the key points the winner needs to get right, says Beida business professor Jeffrey Towson on his weblog.
Today in China, we can see a lot of players scrambling for dominance in distribution on a changing landscape. This is the clearer path. Broadcast TV is a focus but few licenses are available and this is State controlled. There are certainly lots of DVDs on street corners and pirated downloads, but nobody really controls any of this.
So much of the focus has been on achieving dominance in cinemas (thus far) – and the release windows for films within these cinemas. Wanda has taken this approach the most aggressively – including internationally with their purchases of AMC Theaters in the USA, Odeon-UCI in Europe and now Nordic Cinema Group in Scandinavia. Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin has said his goal is to own 20% of the world’s movie screens.
Outside of cinemas, much of the focus in China is now on online video and streaming. It’s an emerging area where Alibaba, Tencent and a few others are doing an aggressive push into a still grey regulatory area. Note: typically what happens is the regulations are eventually clarified and the market leaders are grandfathered in. But online video and streaming is really the area to watch in 2017.
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