(Yicai Global) June 8 -- The most lucrative business s for China's film and television companies may not be popular movies in the future, but interactive, real-life entertainment activities based on intellectual property (IP) generated as an incident to film and television performances.
Great uncertainty in the movie box office is driving many film and television companies to seek more channels of transformation, and location-based entertainment (LBE) is thus gradually assuming the status of a hot investment.
During last year's G20 Summit in Hangzhou, the theatrical performance of 'The Most Memory is Hangzhou' specially prepared for the summit became popular, and so goaded a wave of listed companies to raise their stakes in LBE.
Great Wall Film and Television Co. [SHE:002071], Sanxiang Impression Co. [SHE:000863] and many other listed firms have recently raised the profile of LBE, and the outside world is also taking another look at the industry.
The most famous LBE project in China is the "Impression" series produced by renowned director Zhang Yimou, which stages large-scale entertainment events in various famous tourist spots.
There are two kinds of LBE, one consists of general amusement parks, and the other theme parks developed in two phases using IP (content intellectual property), such as film and video games and internet literature, Chen Shaofeng, vice dean of Peking University's Institute for Cultural Industries, told Yicai Global. The theme park LBE is more basic (for IP fans), and this is setting the trend of future development.
Many local entertainment companies have embraced LBE, Huang Li, the founder of Yerong Investment -- who has many years of film and television industry investment experience -- told Yicai Global. "Film and television companies all dream of becoming the next Disney and improving the proportion of the non-box office income. LBE is one type of IP-derived income which can be realized early," he said.
Several large-scale, fixed-term projects have sought to stimulate land resource development, as well as short-term, indoor projects that are used as a tool for drawing crowds to large-scale commercial properties.
Lack of content support is the biggest problem currently for domestic companies in developing LBE. To use a hot phrase now, it is the lack of high-quality IP, Chen Shaofeng said. Most LBE projects in China confront this problem of feeble IP.
China's real estate industry's scale was of tens of billions of yuan last year, and nearly 200 performances competed in the LBE market.