Wanda Cinemas, China’s largest theater group, has partnered with Mtime to build movie merchandising centers in all of Wanda’s top theaters in the country. Mtime is considered China’s leading movie portal and film e-commerce destination with more than 160 million unique monthly users after only opening online in January. The companies also will co-develop an O2O (online-to-offline) model, linking together online and offline users through the integration of Internet-connected devices.
In only six months offering online merchandise, Mtime has established brick-and-mortar stores in 10 major box office cities, laying the groundwork for a one-stop O2O service. In partnership with the biggest film studios worldwide, Mtime has developed high-end merchandise for moviegoing consumers.
This is clearly seen as as way to cut down on pirated goods in the country and establish authentic merchandise. Mtime is already a partner to all of the top U.S. film studios as it is considered the premiere e-commerce, in-theater retail and entertainment news destination for filmgoers across China.
Movie merchandising is a multibillion-dollar business in the States and truly grew out of one movie: Star Wars in 1977. Until that time, no one really sold merchandise tied to films. The success of Star Wars took everyone by surprise, and it wasn’t long before a lucrative business was born.
“Working together, we will be able to strategically enhance the Chinese moviegoing experience, enable studios to market their movies more directly and efficiently to Chinese consumers and deliver our movie merchandising to an even broader audience,” said Kelvin Hou, Mtime’s founder and CEO. “This is truly a win-win situation for all parties involved which I believe will lead to the development of a new market model for the film industry.”
Filmgoers will be able to shop for official merchandise right in the theater through stores, not unlike what Disney has done in Hollywood with its El Capitan theater, where you can watch a movie and then go immediately into the shop to buy official studio merchandise.
“As the largest theatrical group in China, Wanda has been researching this area for long time,” Zeng Maojun, President of Wanda Theater Group, said in a statement. “The audience’s experience is the core of our business, and we are thrilled to partner with Mtime, the country’s premier film media, marketing and e-merchandising development company.” He said the deal creates a one-stop shopping experience and notes that this is an important milestone in China’s movie market. “It’s the first time a Chinese company is launching this scale of resources into movie merchandising.”
Mtime also is the largest online ticketing and movie merchandising company in the country. It sells to about 90% of the movie theaters in 500 Chinese cities. It is the only independent, integrated film marketing and media platform in China and designs, manufactures and sells high-end movie merchandise.