Video clips create an online splash
Updated: 2015-08-24 08:17
By Shi Jing(China Daily)
A woman watches video news on a smartphone.[Photo provided to China Daily]
The rise of smartphones and 4G networks has triggered an increase in online news companies.
Mixing the traditional format of stories and photographs with short video clips, Internet applications have sprouted up to cater for a growing Web market.
QuestMobile, a market research consultancy in Beijing, reported in a survey last month that Tencent News was the 11th most popular mobile app in the first half of this year. The Internet portal owned by e-commerce giant Tencent Holdings Ltd was two places ahead of Toutiao.com in a list of top 20 apps.
When asked what app they spent the most time on, 1.56 percent of online users polled came up with Tencent News. Around 1.11 percent opted for Toutiao.com, which was launched in 2012 and has 290 million registered users.
"While instant messenger WeChat took up the lion's share of 29.1 percent, the news app's gap between other applications, such as shopping, is starting to shrink," QuestMobile reported.
When it comes to content, Tencent News is by far the most dominant platform with more than 86 megabites of coverage downloaded each month. This includes video as a short clip can be roughly 15 megabites, the survey showed.
"The nearest competitors were Sohu News, with 38 megabites, followed by 163 News, Sina News and Toutiao.com. They hover around the 30 to 32 megabites range," the report revealed.
In terms of age, the overall news app users are relatively young. More than 70 percent are below 35 years old, while 25 percent are between the ages of 25 and 30.
Users on the Sohu app are slightly older with 15 percent over 40 years old. "I think this has a strong correlation with the consumers mobile operators," Nancy Lan, deputy managing director of Opti Shanghai, a media planning company, said.
"More Sohu news users are with China Telecom than any of the other apps, and this is a operator which is historically older than China Unicom and China Mobile."
Leading online media groups and Internet companies, such as ifeng.com and Tencent, have been rolling out more video clips on their apps in a move to attract customers. "There might be cannibalization, but these groups have little to lose," Shann Biglione, head of Strategy with Zenith Optimedia China, a marketing communication company, said.
"Ultimately, what the consumer wants it will get. So, it's a lot safer to experiment and stay at the forefront. If you don't do it, someone else will, so there is more danger in not embracing it."
But high-class journalism will suffer in the rush to produce content. Quantity, not quality, is the buzzword online.
"The one thing that we do need to keep an eye on is the decline in quality reporting," Biglione said. "Nowadays, the news ecosystem online requires quantity to be sustainable. What they want is content, not journalism."
According to Zenith Optimedia, the number of regular online video viewers is predicted to increase by 27.2 percent in China in 2015 without producing detailed figures. Globally, online video viewing is forecast to grow by 43.9 percent during the same period.