New tech could bring big changes for entertainment content: Maoyan CTO

2 min read
Lu Gang, TechNode founder and CEO (R), Chen Qingyang, CTO of Maoyan Entertainment (Image credit: TechCrunch)

Advances in technology are expected to bring fundamental changes to the pan-entertainment industry, as they have in other sectors. The changes will range from how content is produced to how material is distributed among audiences. 

Coined in 2011 by Cheng Wu, chief executive of Tencent’s filmmaking arm, pan-entertainment refers to multi-level products developed from intellectual property, such as games, anime, drama, films, and fiction.

Burgeoning tech such as 5G, AI, and blockchain are going to have a significant impact on the entertainment industry, according to Chen Qingyang, chief technology officer of Tencent-backed online ticketing platform Maoyan Entertainment.

Chen highlighted virtual idols, digital avatars that feature their own voices and personalities. Taking hologram form, they perform live shows for thousands of adoring fans. Enabled by big data and AI, virtual idols like Luo Tianyi, have gained great popularity among younger generations over the past two years, Chen noted.

“With the rise of 5G and AI, the capability to generate a complete and whole visual scene on stage is going to bring fundamental changes to entertainment production and consumption,” he said at TechCrunch Shenzhen 2019 on Tuesday. VR is another key area for entertainment. While the technology can provide an immersive experience, Chen expects adopters to face obstacles in updating devices, improving display resolutions, and enriching content.

Different from countries such as the US, Chinese movie-goers typically secure their seats by buying tickets online from dealers. China’s box office boom over the past decade has given rise to online ticketing platforms like Maoyan and Alibaba-backed Taopiaopiao.

As the market leader with a share of more than 60%, Maoyan has pioneered some of the sector’s most popular features in recent years, from online seat selection, snack purchases, ticket refunds, and ticket changes.

Expanding beyond its core ticketing business, the Hong Kong-listed firm refocused its strategy in July to beef up crucial business areas, including operational efficiency, big data, marketing, and funding. At the same time, the move highlights its determination to enter the pan-entertainment market, especially at a time when China’s box office revenue is experiencing a downturn.

In line with the strategic shift, Maoyan entered a new partnership with Tencent, through which Maoyan gains access to resources from Tencent’s entertainment empire that includes Tencent Pictures, Tencent Video, Tencent Holdings, and Tencent Music Entertainment Group.

“Maoyan is quite a big player in online ticketing, but we are small when looking at the pan-entertainment market, which is expected to be worth RMB2.3 trillion by 2020,” said Chen.

China is the second-largest entertainment market in the world, according to data from iResearch, which brought in RMB 1.7 trillion (around $247 billion) in revenue in 2018. This figure is projected to hit RMB 3.2 trillion in 2022.