Online Movie Ticket Sales Are Huge in China




Meriah Doty wrote a piece for The Wrap on June 15, 2016 explaining that 80% of all movie ticketing in China happens online.

Why?

"Internet portal Tencent, online marketplace Alibaba, and web services company Baidu currently dominate the online ticketing space in China. Shockingly, they’re all [offering discounts and] losing money in their online ticketing activities - on purpose. The companies are forfeiting short-term profits to gain valuable new users and customer data, using the lure of movies as a king of loss leader. The hope is that new customers will make other purchases on their respective sites." 

Consequently, "[i]t’s a whole lot cheaper to buy tickets online in China."

Even though (because?) there is heavy discounting of movie tickets online, China's box office will soon overtake the US as the biggest in the world. 

This is going to come as a shock to many observers in the West who continue to lament the effect of the internet on traditional audio-visual businesses, but the internet (specifically online sales of movie theater tickets) is actually a key pillar supporting the boom in movie attendance in China.

Because online companies selling movie tickets in China are capturing all sorts of valuable information - the tickets can be sold at a discount - and the Chinese movie-going audience is benefitting from cheaper seats and a 21st century service-oriented approach. 

One question: Now that Chinese investors are buying up US movie theater chains, will Western movie-goers also be offered better options online - like discounts, specific seat selection, pre-ordering concessions, etc.?

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