Baidu’s video platform, Qiyi, partners with provincial satellite stations

10 June 2011 21 h 48 min 6 comments

In order to keep its position in the online video market, Qiyi.com, the online video subsidiary of China’s largest search engine, Baidu, has recently announced several new initiatives.

. In May, the video platform has established strategic partnerships with five Chinese satellite TV channels from Hunan, Jiangsu, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Shanghai with which Qiyi will launch a “satellite drama zone” to promote dramas from these TV channels.

. Qiyi also began a partnership with Zhejiang Satellite TV under which Qiyi will receive online broadcast and redistribution rights to one of Zhejiang Satellite’s self-produced titles, which will premiere on Qiyi

. In February and March, Qiyi helped Dragon TV conduct the preliminary selection for its reality show, “China’s Got Talent” (Zhongguo Daren Xiu).

. On June 8, Qiyi launched a new entertainment channel featuring legally licensed short videos. Qiyi CEO Gong Yu said that the offering of short videos was a “special case,” and did not represent a change in the overall direction of the company’s services. Qiyi says it will promote the entertainment channel through Baidu’s entertainment, video search, and Post Bar services.
  
Qiyi could charge subscribers as users reach 150 million

Launched in April 2010, Qiyi shows films, Tv dramas, documentaries, animations and variety shows. Gong said that many first-time visitors to Qiyi come through Baidu searches, but that return visitors arrive mainly by typing in the Qiyi.com domain name”.

On 27 May, Bloomberg reported that Qiyi.com is considering charging its users subscription fees. “Qiyi reached 150 million users in March after a year in operation and will next look to expand in the mobile video market”, vice-president Yuan Bin told an internet conference in Beijing. He also reiterated “the company’s desire to sell shares to the public, without specifying a market or timeframe”. “The future of the online video industry is to have two models: customer paid, and advertising paid by companies,” Yuan said. “We are now exploring the paid-by-customer model.” “The number of Qiyi users paying for content is still quite small,” Yuan said, without supplying details.

“The company is benefiting from its connection to Baidu, which controls about 80% of the search market in China and can help drive users to the Qiyi site,” Yuan said. Baidu owns 61% of Qiyi. Providence Equity Partners, last year, said it would provide $50m of funding to Baidu’s video website. Providence is an investor in US Hulu platform which offers video content from owners including NBC Universal, Fox and ABC.

SOURCES: sat-television.com (28/5/2011), Tencent Tech (8/6/2011), marbridgeconsulting.com (9/06/2011)

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