Caixin
May 29, 2019 08:32 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Short-Video Apps’ Revenue Grows 745%

China’s rapidly growing short video industry is threatening to overtake its long-video peer, due to its social-media friendliness and the vast number of Chinese mobile users, report says.

Revenue of China’s short-video industry saw explosive 745% year-on-year growth to 46.7 billion yuan ($6.8 billion) last year, according to a report released Monday by the China Netcasting Services Association, an industry group. The long video market’s gains were a more modest 17%, putting the market’s revenue at 51.6 billion yuan.

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A user shoots video on his mobile phones during a local carnival in Ningbo, East China’s Zhejiang province, on Sept. 28. Photo: VCG

According to the report, the market for long videos — such as TV series — is mainly dominated by three platforms, namely Alibaba’s Youku, Baidu’s iQiyi and Tencent Video.

The report didn’t define how short a video must be to be classed as a “short video.”

Leading short video apps, such as Douyin, which is known as Tik Tok overseas, and its peer Kuaishou, feature videos less than 60 seconds long — sometimes entertaining, sometimes educational, sometimes neither — uploaded by celebrities and ordinary users alike. The content is as varied as lip-syncing to pop music; sleepy toddlers’ nodding off while walking; recipes; and Excel spreadsheet formulas.

Short video platforms usually make their majority of revenues from advertisement, while long form platforms rely on subscriptions.

The report said that Chinese smartphone users spent more time on short-video apps than their long-video counterparts for the first time in June 2018. By the end of last year, 5.69 hours of an average user’s day was spent going online via smartphone — up one hour from a year before. Users on average spent 11.4% of that time watching short videos — second to only instant messaging — and 8.3% watching long videos.

Yan Mei, head of Renmin University of China’s journalism and communication center, told Caixin that one major reason for the popularity of short videos is that they are well-suited to sharing on social media.

According to the report, 43.1% short videos feature uploaders’ “talents and skills” and 37.3% focus on “lifestyle” topics.

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Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (ziyitang@caixin.com)

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