China’s leading video websites, including Youku Tudou, Tencent Video, iQiyi, and Sohu, will focus on producing original programming and investing in exclusive broadcast rights in 2015.
The explosive growth in China’s internet users has led to intense competition between China’s online video companies. Out of the top four, only Sohu is independent, as Youku Tudou has a partnership with Alibaba, iQiyi is owned by Baidu, and Tencent Video is, of course, owned by Tencent. Industry experts forecast that, within 3 to 5 years, only two or three online video services—due to mergers and acquisitions—will be competing for a market that will be worth as much as 40 billion yuan ($6.46 billion), according to Want China Times.
Producing original video content and buying exclusive rights to popular international shows is the best way for these companies to differentiate themselves from the competition.
According to unnamed sources, Youku Tudou plans to invest 600 million yuan ($97 million) in original films, web series, and variety shows.
iQiyi’s chief content officer, Ma Dong, announced that the company would produce more than 30 original dramas with a total of 500 episodes in 2015.
Similarly, Sohu announced that it would create self-made films and television series next year with an aim of 200 episodes for its TV offerings.
Tencent Video leads the pack having produced 10 original dramas this year and plans to increase that number in 2015. And while the other services have been licensing some popular variety shows and U.S. and Korean TV series, Tencent has been establishing a roster of exclusive content partners, including HBO, Warner Brothers, and Sony, which was announced this week.
image source: andre pan