Online movies combat Chinese bootlegs

Perusing a laptop in Zhejiang province, China

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: And finally, China's known for its movie fakes. But starting next month, some brand new releases will be available there to view online. No, not more bootlegs. It's Hollywood trying to create a legitimate market. From Shanghai, Marketplace's Scott Tong reports.


Scott Tong: Warner Brothers will offer newly released films -- for a fee -- to China's 250 million Web users. That's a big market. Problem is, almost everyone here downloads illegally, or buys bootleg DVDs for a dollar each. So Warner Brothers is trying to squeeze into that price point -- it'll charge 60 cents per online movie.

Lucas Englehardt monitors Chinese Net ventures for the firm Blogger Insight. He says Hollywood works hard to make money in China. But for now, the best it can hope for is a cameo appearance.

Lucas Englehardt: I think it definitely shows the pirates have changed the game. They don't have any other options. And so right now they need to find a way to try to monetize all these viewers. It's a long road, it's going to be slow to teach people and convert them.

Chinese piracy has cheated the movie industry out of almost $3 billion in annual sales, says one study. A Warner Brothers official describes video-on-demand as "a crack at creating a real digital market" in China.

In Shanghai, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...