By KWANCHAI RUNGFAPAISARN
CJ E&M, a South Korea-based entertainment and media-content company, yesterday announced its first joint venture in Asean, with Thailand’s Major Cineplex Group.
The Korean company aims to penetrate the film industry in Thailand and neighbouring markets.
Under the JV, worth Bt100 million, CJ E&M and Major Cineplex Group will jointly set up a film-production company, CJ Major Entertainment Co. CJ E&M will hold 51 per cent of the new company, and Major Cineplex Group 49 per cent.
The deal will also support Major Cineplex’ plan to ramp up the expansion of its cinemas in Thailand and neighbouring Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV). The group currently operates 600 cinemas in 92 locations in Thailand, while in Cambodia in has seven screens and in Laos five. It plans to increase the total number of cinema screens to 1,000 by 2020, of which 900 will be in Thailand and the rest in CLMV countries.
The first film to be launched under the joint venture is “Miss Granny”, a reproduction of a popular Korean movie.
In Thailand, the movie has passed the pre-production process and is expected to be screened locally around the end of this year.
Vicha Poolvaraluck, chairman of the executive committee and chief executive officer of Major Cineplex Group, said the JV company would produce between 15 and 20 Thai films over the next five years, not just for Thailand but also for screening in Asean and other markets around the world. The average investment in production and marketing activities will be about Bt50 million for each film.
“Thai movies have a share of only 30 per cent in Thailand’s film industry, which is quite small. In China, Chinese productions control a share of more than 50 per cent of the market.
“Making Thai films needs professionalism and a higher scale of production,” he said.
Vicha added that in Korea, people watch about four movies on average per year, while in China, the average is about one movie a year.
“In contrast with those markets, in Thailand, our people watch fewer movies, lower than one movie a year on average. In Cambodia, we [Major Cineplex] have opened only seven cinema screens so far, which is quite |small compared with the |country’s rich potential to have |100 screens.”
He said Thai films now accounted for about 40 per cent of the total movie market in Cambodia. Many markets in Asean enjoy wide acceptance of Thai films.
Jeong Tae-sung, CEO of CJ E&M Film Division, said this was the first joint venture of CJ E&M in Southeast Asia. The company has a JV in Japan, and a wholly owned subsidiary in China.
“We have seen in Asean plenty of room for Thai films in the market. Thai films now share only 30 per cent of the total movie market in the region. And [there is] great potential to increase the market share to 50 per cent in the future,” Jeong said.
He said that Thai films had improved in quality over the years, leading to success.
For this reason, Thai moviegoers pay attention and give priority to innovative productions and are ready to experience new things.