Berlinale 2021 – EFM
Industry Report: Europe and the Rest of the World
Bridging the Dragon brings new perspectives to its Sino-European activities
BERLINALE 2021: The EFM, in collaboration with producers’ association Bridging the Dragon, hosted its Sino-European Forum for the seventh year in a row
As the pandemic continues to hit the film industry worldwide, the market in China is thriving, with cinemas fully open. During the week of the Chinese New Year holidays in February, the local box office hit a record of $1.2 billion. Connecting with this market has therefore now become more strategic than ever. On Wednesday 3 March, the Berlinale’s European Film Market, in collaboration with producers’ association Bridging the Dragon, hosted its Sino-European Forum for the seventh year in a row.
The programme was kicked off with a webinar on documentary in China held by QI Kang, CEO of Brilliantly Studio, a branch of iQIYI, one of the biggest local streaming platforms. Kang thinks that there is huge potential for documentary in China, not only for the fast-developing streaming platforms, which are attracting vast numbers of users, but also for theatrical release. As for international collaboration, Kang is witnessing many foreign talents starting to make documentaries in China and thinks that there will definitely be more and more space for cross-cultural collaborations in the future.
Han Lina, senior manager of the top Chinese TV drama house Perfect World Pictures, analysed the TV and streaming landscape of China. The company produces between 600 and 800 episodes of TV dramas every year, most of which are aired on satellite TV stations at prime time.
“Streaming platforms in China have transitioned from mere distribution channels to becoming mini-studios which create their own content,” said Han. A few years ago, there was large-scale “price competition” among streaming platforms, and the teams behind web series mostly pursued high-budget production values, popular IPs and top stars. As the platforms have developed, the acquisition prices of TV series have gradually become more affordable, and they have focused more on high quality, genre and creativity.
Looking to the future, Han envisages that only the top production companies will have enough resources and bargaining power to have a high profit margin with the platforms, while small to medium-sized companies will become solely content providers. Competition among streaming platforms will become co-opetition. Platforms will focus on building top-tier content and genres corresponding to specific audience groups. In the long run, “platforms have to deal with a situation where short videos are taking up most of the entertainment time of users”, Han added. When it comes to collaborating with Europe, she was optimistic and emphasised the crucial importance of the intersection of stories and characters between the two cultures in order to make the content appealing to both audiences.
The forum was wrapped up with five round-tables on practical topics for a selection of 75 European and Chinese producers, and a virtual networking party.
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