Cinema advertising begins in China

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BEIJING -- A domestic household appliance maker has become the first company in the history of Chinese cinema to advertise before a movie. Previously there was a ban against cinema advertising.

Xinfei Group - a major household electronic appliance maker located in Xinxiang, Henen Province - defeated many domestic competitors to win the right to have its 60-second ad shown at the beginning of the imported film Dante's Peak, which is showing in large and medium-sized cities across the country.

The ad cost the Xinfei Group millions of yuan. Industry insiders say cinema advertising is expected to generate lots of profits for companies which import foreign films and also cinemas. The China Film Corporation says that from now on it will add 15-second to 60-second advertisements to the beginning of all popular imported films.

The ad revenue is expected to help domestic companies that import film to be able to introduce more popular foreign movies films while reducing ticket prices. However, the Chinese Consumers' Association says that such a move hurts the interest of movie-goers because consumers have to watch the ads.

The association suggests that companies should either inform consumers before they buy tickets that ads will appear or reduce the price of movie tickets. At present, one ticket for an imported film can cost $3.60, a high cost compared with the income of local residents. Last year, the country introduced a total of 10 "best-selling" movies from abroad, mainly from the U.S., including True Lies, The Bridges of Madison County and Forest Gump.

Copyright June 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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