Venice: Chinese Online Video Giant iQiyi Aims to Stream Fest Films in China

Chinese online video giant iQiyi is at the Venice Film Festival with a bold new project to bring more international films from global fests to Chinese audiences.

The company is working on several concepts, including streaming the pics in China day-and-date with their festival release.

“It’s important that we have as many movies as possible but it’s difficult for us to buy movies overseas. We think the international festivals are a big opportunity,” said iQiyi founder and CEO Gong Yu.

The Netflix-like platform, owned by Chinese search engine Baidu, is the main sponsor of this year’s Venice Film Market. iQiyi is either the first or second biggest video platform in China, according to different measurements.

Gong noted that the Chinese quota system limiting the number of foreign films coming into the country applies to theatrical releases but not to online distribution.

And while iQiyi has volume deals with Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Columbia Pictures – and is in talks to reup its deal with Warner Bros. – “the window in North America is a problem for us,” Gong lamented, because “we have to wait a long time.”

He added: “But movies in festivals – most of them are brand new.”

iQiyi movie channel business director Song Jia said it has launched a project called Online Festival Screening “because Chinese audiences are curious about European cinema.”

It could, of course, be mutually beneficial.

“We think film festivals are a very good opportunity for us, and also for European producers and distributors,” she pointed out.

iQiyi succesfully launched an online screening initiative at the Shanghai Film Festival in June.

It streamed nearly 30 titles including the fest’s winner, Greek director Pantelis Voulgaris’ “Little England,” a romantic drama which generated so much traffic that iQiyi is now trying to arrange a theatrical release, if Chinese censors allow it and if it can find the right partner.

“Our plan is how to push forward with this project,” Song said.

iQiyi is in talks on collaborations with international fests including Venice, Pusan and Tokyo.

More longterm plans are also underway to start “an iQiyi online film festival with new titles from around the world. And we can pay them according to traffic,” she added.

This year at Venice 11 titles in the official selection – all from either Horizons or Biennale College – are screening online via the Sala Web, powered by Festival Scope. The pics are streamed as they go on screen on the Lido and for five subsequent days.

More Film

  • CGITW-7-20-17-116.RAF

    Bo Burnham Wishes 'Eighth Grade' Wasn't Rated R

    Chinese online video giant iQiyi is at the Venice Film Festival with a bold new project to bring more international films from global fests to Chinese audiences. The company is working on several concepts, including streaming the pics in China day-and-date with their festival release. “It’s important that we have as many movies as possible […]

  • (L to R) Young Tanya (JESSICA

    Box Office: 'Mamma Mia' Shoots Past 'Equalizer 2' in Thursday Night Shows

    Chinese online video giant iQiyi is at the Venice Film Festival with a bold new project to bring more international films from global fests to Chinese audiences. The company is working on several concepts, including streaming the pics in China day-and-date with their festival release. “It’s important that we have as many movies as possible […]

  • Disney Cycles VR Short Film

    Disney Animation's First VR Film, 'Cycles,' Set to Premiere

    Chinese online video giant iQiyi is at the Venice Film Festival with a bold new project to bring more international films from global fests to Chinese audiences. The company is working on several concepts, including streaming the pics in China day-and-date with their festival release. “It’s important that we have as many movies as possible […]

  • Apollo 11

    Neon Buys 'Apollo 11' Moon Landing Documentary

    Chinese online video giant iQiyi is at the Venice Film Festival with a bold new project to bring more international films from global fests to Chinese audiences. The company is working on several concepts, including streaming the pics in China day-and-date with their festival release. “It’s important that we have as many movies as possible […]

  • Locarno: Intramovies Takes Sales on Inquisition

    Locarno: Intramovies Takes World Sales on Inquisition Drama 'Menocchio' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Chinese online video giant iQiyi is at the Venice Film Festival with a bold new project to bring more international films from global fests to Chinese audiences. The company is working on several concepts, including streaming the pics in China day-and-date with their festival release. “It’s important that we have as many movies as possible […]

  • Cats review

    Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, James Corden, Ian McKellen Cast in Movie Version of 'Cats'

    Chinese online video giant iQiyi is at the Venice Film Festival with a bold new project to bring more international films from global fests to Chinese audiences. The company is working on several concepts, including streaming the pics in China day-and-date with their festival release. “It’s important that we have as many movies as possible […]

  • In this undated photo released by

    Six Thai Cave Rescue Films Now in Development

    Chinese online video giant iQiyi is at the Venice Film Festival with a bold new project to bring more international films from global fests to Chinese audiences. The company is working on several concepts, including streaming the pics in China day-and-date with their festival release. “It’s important that we have as many movies as possible […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content