Liz Shackleton profiles China’s major online players
Owned by video-game company Shanda Group, Ku6 streams user-generated content (UGC) and acquires films and TV series. The company has a $10m joint acquisition fund with major Chinese portal Sohu and announced last September it had struck deals with Sony and Warner Bros. Founded in 2006, it floated on Nasdaq last June.
Who to know: Kevin Li Shanyou, founder and chief executive
Launched in 2004, LeTV carries no UGC and makes about 60% of its revenue from subscription services, 30% from advertising and 15% from the resale of content rights. The company made a profit of $6.7m (rmb44.5m) in 2009 and listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange last year. Its content comes mostly from Asian studios; it is also in talks with Sony, Warner Bros and Fox.
Who to know: James Gao, vice-president
Launched by search engine Baidu last year with $50m investment from Hulu investor Providence Equity Partners, Qiyi streams acquired content but no UGC. Free to the user, all its revenue comes from advertising. The site had 86 million unique monthly visitors in October 2010.
Who to know: Gong Yu, chief executive; Sarah Zhang, business development director
Tudou went live in 2005 and streams UGC, content acquired from Asian producers and in-house programming. Revenue comes from advertising and it has around 200 million unique visitors per month. Founder Gary Wang was formerly managing director of Bertelsmann Online China.
Who to know: Gary Wang, CEO; Zu Chen, vice-president of content
A subscription service with no advertising or UGC, Voole made headlines when it launched in 2008 with revenue-sharing deals with Sony and Warner Bros — rare as most deals are flat fee. About half its content comes from US studios and half from Asian producers. The unlisted company says it makes most of its revenues from reselling rights and broke even last year.
Who to know: Colin Shao, chairman; Sunny Zhang, director, international copyright purchase & sale
Founded in 2006 by former Sohu president Victor Koo, Youku streams acquired content (70%), UGC (20%) and in-house productions (10%). While most of its content is from Asia, it has struck deals with Disney to stream Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy and with Warner Bros to stream Inception. Revenue comes from advertising though it recently launched a subscription platform for movies and educational videos. The company had 264 million unique visitors in August 2010.
Who to know: Henry Heng Ding, director of media development