Wanda Cinema Line Co. has completed buying Hollywood entertainment marketing agency Propaganda GEM and the Chinese gaming distribution company Hoolai Games.
Wanda made the announcement of the two deals at a news conference Friday in Beijing. The price of the transactions was not disclosed.
The announcement comes a day after Wanda Cinema Line, the theatrical exhibition arm of Chinese property development giant Dalian Wanda, disclosed that it is paying $5.72 billion to buy up its other film assets. In a regulatory filing, Wanda Cinema said that it would buy Wanda Media, the division that includes the recently acquired Legendary Entertainment.
Zeng Maojun, president of Wanda Cinemas, discussed the transactions in a speech explaining the logic behind Wanda’s acquisitions. He said theaters need to be fully immersive audience and consumer experiences.
“We realized that the only way to keep the winning position and compete with the future is to have insights on consumers’ needs and users’ experience, constantly upgrade products and create innovative experience,” he said.
Wanda Cinemas unveiled its “membership +” strategy in August, aiming for one-stop movie and life services platforms for 60 million members including online movie ticketing, online streaming movie theaters, game operation and distribution, merchandising development and sales and connecting brand privileges.
Hoolai president Huang Jian said, “Wanda Cinemas is the only company with real capability to support gaming marketing and distribution events among hundreds of cities, and are able to build game brand within one or two weeks. Wanda Cinemas will create a new model and new era for gaming marketing and distribution.”
Wanda has over 250 theater locations in China.
Propaganda GEM, founded in 1991 and headquartered in Geneva and Los Angeles, has worked on strategic entertainment marketing concepts for feature film, television, music video, video games, talent relations and events — such as BMW and the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.
Ruben Igielko-Herrlich, co-founder and CEO, told Variety that he began discussions with Wanda about six months ago. He said that the deal will not result in any work force reductions at the 70-employee company, which operates in a dozen cities.
“The Propaganda company has, over the years, become the most experienced and global entertainment marketing agency in the world,” he added.
“We would not exist without the talent of storytellers and the people who come to be entertained – and none of this could happen without the venues where creative talent and audiences come together – movie theaters,” he said. “It is therefore our belief that Wanda Cinema Line’s drive and philosophy to bring enhanced experiences to audiences around the world is a movement that Propaganda GEM wants to become a part of.”
Propaganda GEM has partnered with China Movie Media, a domestic movie marketing company and a fully owned subsidiary of Wanda Cinemas. The two companies will work on developing the film market in China and in the U.S. to become the “bridge” of global brands and intellectual properties and will collaborate together on global acquisitions and financing.