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Competition and merging in post-COVID times: Chien-Yu Fan on show business trends


(College of Social Sciences) The Smart City & Smart Mobility Co-Learning Group at National Sun Yat-sen University invited Chien-Yu Fan, an internationally acclaimed film producer, to deliver a speech. Using his own work experience as an example, Fan showed students the trends in show business nowadays as well as the future developments.

Fan has been participating in producing several Taiwanese blockbuster films. Except for working as the director, the scenarist, and the film producer of “Night Market Hero,” “Wansei Back Home,” and “Din Tao: Leader of the Parade,” Fan is also experienced in collaborating with multiple international teams on film production. His works had been screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival for three consecutive years. During his talk at NSYSU, Fan shared his observations of the current show business trends in Hollywood. Before the COVID pandemic outbreak, he has already seen the major studios in Hollywood take the initiative to develop their streaming sectors. The outbreak has globally shaken the cinema industry when its audiences now watch films on their own screens due to measures against the virus. Along with rapid changes in technology, the pandemic outbreak accelerates the rise of streaming services, such as Netflix and Disney+ and more, and intensifies competition among these corporations. At the same time, big names of streaming services are eager to merge with their competitors to expand their territory.

The aforementioned expansion of streaming service forces the major film companies to alternate venues of screening, Fan explained. A crucial agreement made between the two globally leading movie theater chains – Universal Pictures and AMC – shortened the period of a film staged in theaters after its world premiere from 90 to 17 days. This unprecedented agreement has undoubtedly darkened the already dim future of film theaters, especially when a severe downturn of their business lingers due to the pandemic. The pandemic profoundly changes and challenges the society. Fan also encouraged students to strive to adapt to challenges in post-COVID times.

The pandemic has significantly changed most people’s consumption habits, which had a huge impact on the entertainment industry. Many movie theater chains are on the brink of bankruptcy as streaming services dominate show business nowadays. Students at Fan’s talk were curious how film industry reacts to a crisis as such. He gladly sees the pandemic gradually abate. Because now the Taiwanese slowly learn to live with the new normality and start to visit film theaters, box office revenues finally soar. It seems that lots of people still enjoy theater experience, such as lighting and sound effects, much more than home cinema. However, Fan also emphasized: film theaters have to innovate theater experiences for audiences in order to sustain this industry.
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