This is part of our China's 2015 Year in Review series. For more on 2015 Arts in review, read our list of the biggest moments in arts here and an interview with Shanghai Gallery of Art Director Zhang Li here.
1. More box office regulation
China’s booming film industry was undermined by allegations that box office figures for Monster Hunt, Lost in Hong Kong and The Hundred Regiments Offensive had been manipulated (some cinemas reported selling more tickets than they have seats). In September, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) confirmed a deal with China that allows it to independently collect and verify payments from films distributed here, and more regulations are expected to prevent distributors inflating sales figures.
2. Licensed music streaming to blow up
No industry has been hit harder by piracy than music. But the sector seems ready to stage a fight back. With unlicensed streaming finally illegalized, China’s major music streaming services have been pushed to sign exclusive deals with American record labels. Those services may have spent much of 2015 suing one another, but they now seem ready to establish a viable legal music sector. The competition will be fierce – Apple Music has just joined the likes of QQ Music, Kugou and Alibaba’s Xiami in an already crowded market.
3. Subscribers will keep paying up
After years of skepticism, companies like iQiyi have proven that China is ready for paid subscription services. The site attracted over 5 million paid users who are able to watch hit shows like The Last Tomb in advance. Online viewers also proved willing to fork out for Game of Thrones and The Sopranos (both on QQ), while Sohu has attracted huge numbers of monthly subscribers by acquiring big-name Hollywood films. With the demand clearly there, 2016 will bring big battles for content and an inevitable price war.