Sometimes you just happen to be at the right place at the right time to see something amazing happen. I think now is the time and place for an entirely new market to open up for indie entertainment. Asia overall is booming now with Japan predicted to soon become equal to or bigger than the US as a music market and China is following the same course with movies.
According to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal; “Going to a movie used to be a luxury in China, but not anymore,” said Roy Lu, president of Starlive Inc., an entertainment events and talent-management company that is focused on U.S.-China deals. “It is a good family event, and you don’t feel crowded when you are inside the theater.”
This is all well and good for the movie industry in general but the story makes another point that should be of special interest in independent filmmakers and small studios;
“Hollywood is a big beneficiary of this trend, but Chinese studios are doing even better. Domestic films’ box-office revenue has doubled in the past year, hitting $1 billion for the first six months of 2013. Chinese films topped foreign offerings for the first time in at least five years.”
“The difference is Hollywood has relied on special-effects blockbusters, while local directors now focus on low-budget movies about modern Chinese society, which resonate better with viewers. The 2012 comedy “Lost in Thailand,” which cost $5 million to produce, has earned more than $200 million in China, nearly as much as Hollywood’s high-budget “Avatar.””
Of course most independent filmmakers in the US probably don’t make films about contemporary Chinese life but at the same time some basic human themes such as love, loyalty, greed, etc. resonate across social structures and I do think there is a great opportunity for indies in the Chinese market. Because of that, I am talking to several Chinese film distribution companies as well as developing methods to promote films in the Chinese market (remember China doesn’t use Google much or Youtube).
On the music side of it I can already do promotional campaigns for music videos in Japan. I have done similar campaigns in China but have been somewhat limited in reach because of the variety of sites available and the lack of a good promotional platform. However that is going to change soon as I am now working on partnering with China’s biggest search engine so I can gain access to their music platform.
One big advantage to indies in these markets is that the audience is less familiar with what is big in the US and because of that the audience there seems more likely to embrace lesser known artists as long as they like what you are doing. As an example of what I mean I was recently running a video promotion for a client and I decided to focus part of the campaign on the Asian market. The other day I was doing some searching on the client’s name on Google Japan to see how I was doing and found someone selling a set of DVD’s with a bunch of music videos on them. They featured basically the Billboard top 100 chart artists from the US but my artist’s video was also on there. Sure the DVD’s were probably bootleg but yet it proved a point: the market is wide open for those who can find a way to get there.