The growing popularity of the Internet around the world and in China presents some of the entertainment industry’s biggest opportunities and challenges. The entertainment industry is committed to innovative ways to give consumers access movies and television shows online but unfortunately piracy is a growing problem globally and in China. As part of this commitment to innovation, an increasing number of movies and television shows are available online in China and many of China’s leading actors and directors are part of a public campaign to thank and encourage consumers to purchase content online through a growing number of legal video sites.
China and the United States are two nations that have an increasing and shared stake in encouraging a healthy, legitimate marketplace for film and other creative works. Both countries appreciate not only the cultural contributions of movies, but also the extraordinary and growing economic opportunities they generate. Internationally, the entertainment industry contributes billions of dollars to the global economy and employs hundreds of thousands of individuals each year.
This week, the U.S. Department of Commerce released a first-ever report on intellectual property industries contributions to the American economy. It clearly shows that the entertainment industry is an engine of economic growth. These businesses, including movies and television, supported the jobs of 40 million American workers, or 27.7 percent of all U.S. jobs.
There are 513 million Internet users in China, more than the entire population of the United States. These users represent 38.3 percent of China’s entire population of 1.3 billion. However, the piracy of content through streaming or the sale of counterfeit DVD and Blu-ray discs on China’s increasingly popular e-commerce sites represents a major loss for the entertainment companies.
On April 11, to encourage consumers to buy content online, the Motion Picture Association together with major Chinese online video sites Youku, Sohu, iQiyi and LeTV unveiled a “Thank You” video featuring nearly 100 of China’s best-known actors and filmmakers. This was part of U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke’s Roundtable on Intellectual Property Rights Protection.
Heeding a call from the Motion Picture Association, China’s film community turned out in droves to deliver personal messages of thanks to the sites’ hundreds of millions of users and to ask for support of legitimate online screen content, with the full backing of China’s burgeoning online video industry.
After many years of outreach to promote the protection of content online, we are now witnessing an increasingly promising online video business environment in China. Promoting and protecting the creative community in China will allow artists and filmmakers to focus on developing ideas and products that meet consumer demand. It is extremely encouraging to see the Chinese film community directly engaging their fellow citizens to support one of China’s most dynamic and culturally important industries.