China's film market has taken a big hit from the coronavirus outbreak, with mass closures of cinemas and several premieres being scrapped but some in the industry have quickly adapted by going online to reach audiences.
One such company, iQIYI has made Enter The Fat Dragon available to viewers on its platform from 1 February onwards. The Donny Yen Hong Kong comedy flick was scheduled to play across cinemas in China after a 14 February premiere. However, as Chinese cinemas are being closed and public gatherings discouraged - as one of several ways to prevent further chances for the coronavirus to spread - the premiere was cancelled and iQIYI has reached an agreement with the movie's production and distribution teams to offer online streaming through its early-access transactional on-demand mode.
"The coronavirus outbreak is a test for the whole nation and the film market. With many users staying at home with a demand for quality films, we hope that this mode will attract films of our users' taste and help us meet their demands of online streaming," said Song Jia, general manager of iQIYI Film Centre.
iQIYI said the early-access transactional on-demand mode allows users to view latest releases online at a moderate price, while also enabling film producers to obtain greater revenue by establishing more distribution channels.
"This innovative mode is a particular measure during the coronavirus outbreak, and iQIYI will continue to explore a win-win mode for the film distribution and actively maintaining the sustainable and healthy development of China's film industry," Jia added.
Currently, iQIYI has selected several films for free viewing, such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor, Youth, Adrift, and Legend Of The Demon Cat, to meet the rising demand from Chinese viewers who are staying indoors and in need of distraction.