Territory’s VOD market is growing rapidly but recorded an industry loss of $150m in 2014

Chinese users of free VOD services should brace themselves to pay to view, as the industry looks to become profitable.

The country’s VOD market is growing rapidly alongside the number of on-demand service providers, but recorded an industry loss of $150m in 2014, compared to $100m in 2013.

“Viewers have become too comfortable with a free model – they must now pay,” said Allen Huilong Zhu, senior vice-president of Youku Tudou, one of China’s biggest video sites.

The executive was speaking on a panel here within the China Summit Programme.

Zhu added that the creation of exclusive content was necessary to further entice paying members, referencing Youku Tudou’s viral hit Old Boys, which led to ancillary products including video games and merchandise.

Panellists also discussed how the government has introduced censorship for online video sites, which will delay the streaming of foreign convent resulting in greater piracy.

The panel also included Mark Ganis, president and CEO of Jiaflix; David U. Lee, CEO of Leeding Media; and Li Yansong, president of iQIYI Motion Pictures.

Screen’s Asia Editor Liz Shackleton moderated the panel.