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June 10, 2021

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Rural, older netizens are new fans of online films

Rural and senior netizens have become the major new audiences of China’s Internet films and audio products, amid the challenges and opportunities brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of online video viewers in China reached 900 million for the first time in 2020 — 300 million of which were from rural areas — after cinemas had to suspend operations for several months due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Optical fibers are being widely installed in the country’s villages, which has greatly cut the digital divide between urban and rural regions,” Zhu Yannan, director of the National Radio and Television Administration’s Development and Research Center, told the Shanghai Internet Film Summit on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of people over the age of 50 have become the new audiences of online videos. There are 260 million senior netizens in the country, a new growth point for the Internet film sector.

As part of the Shanghai International Film and TV Festival, the annual Shanghai Internet Film Summit is taking place both online and offline in Putuo District to tap into the rapid development of China’s online film sector. “The quality of online films has drastically improved. Those with realistic themes that reflect people’s lives and great changes are the most popular,” said Zhu.

Online variety shows focus more on promoting positive stories and spirit, while online documentaries and animated shows can better reflect social reality with new technologies.

The number of Internet films in 2020 increased slightly year on year to 659, while the number of online documentaries surged 70 percent to 259.

And the number of online animated shows jumped by 38 percent last year to 396, including many themed around traditional Chinese culture.


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