TV programs make money from commercials; Other online video sites run commercials or charge viewers, or both.

In September 2009, Wang Lifen quit CCTV, the state-run TV station, where she had worked as a senior producer and host for 15 years, and founded Umiwi.com.

Wang declared this May that strategies for her online video website had shifted, again, toward somewhere that had less business with video itself.

The aspiration that drived her to leave an impressive career was vetoed in two weeks.

Wang considered building a C2C video platform in the first place, which was meant to charge users, in April, 2009; she hunted a 22-year-old Indian talent to design Umiwi.com which went online in the November that year.

Just two weeks later, Wang killed the C2C model.”It was only a dream of mine and I hadn’t done market research at all. Users don’t want to pay at all; for instance, a user doesn’t want to pay for half an hour of video chatting, as he/she may not take it as valuable service. So it’s hard for pricing or to put into practice even if prices are set”, Wang recalled.

Can’t CCTV-style content fit in online world?

If C2C is not right, how about B2C? Umiwi was officially launched on March 17, 2010, kicking off with original video content produced by its professional team that no other Chinese video sites ever offered before.On the site there reads “an online video platform that serves the State and intellects.”

Famous figures, such as Alibaba’s Jack Ma, were invited and proven models, such as Buffett Breakfast, were adopted. There’s no doubt that shows on Umiwi are just as fine as some you can watch on CCTV; however, they were not received as well as those on air.
Wang and her team recognized consumption behaviors exhibited on Umiwi.com were not as expected. Wang’s team found that, ironically, pageviews of text and pictures, which are just complementary to videos, surpassed vedio views.“We started with videos as core content. But later on we got to know that traffic driven by text and pictures was very high and on one day surpassed that of video.”Wang said.
It seems so far Wang hasn’t figured out a way of taking advantage of her professional TV production skills in the online world.
“What’s the point of the service we’d build? “
In the latest interview that happened in May, Wang recalled how her team stopped running the website all together and thought about changes. She even said Umiwi was not a video site any more.
“Previously I considered Umiwi.com might be a video site, a verticle site or an e-commerce site. After several months, practically we stopped.”
“In last December and this January, we basically stopped adding new content to the website and started contemplating on strategies. What’s the point of the service we’d build? Who are our major audience? Who we’d serve?” After making those questions clear, Wang and her team decided in the end of this April that they’d serve the young on career, entrepreneurship and innovations.””Innovation is a topic that many others don’t touch while we do.”
“We’ll expand, with various approaches,by meeting needs of young people who are on their way of growing up.”
“Video is just one way of expression and we are not the likes of other video sites. That’s the adjustment we made on strategies in recent months.”
Umiwi was “relaunched” in the past April.Wang said in this year they would go out to do more interviews besides studio interviews and Umiwi’s role would be enhanced as media.
How to make money in an “internet” manner?

TV programs make money from commercials; Other online video sites run commercials or charge viewers, or both.
So far most of Umiwi.com’s revenues have come from On The Way, a TV program Wang’s team has been making and has been sold to 35 Chinese TV stations; the rest is from online ads.
Although, as Wang said, that’s enough to support all staff, it means Umiwi.com, a new medium, cannot generate revenues by means of the internet.
Wang said they’d been in talks with investors but always cautious, “I still have this media dream, especially after we shifted strategies. I’d stick to the dream.” She’s afraid of all the pressures that will come along with investors’interrupts.

“If we cannot come up with a long-lasting and growth-driving business model and a stable operation approach or cannot pull together a good team, I think we’d better be cautious as investments always ask for returns and will exit eventually. I want to focus on one thing, patiently expanding it. The longest term for a fund is 7 years, a time limit I’m afraid of that will disrupt my rhythm.”

Whoever you are, you can’t suffer any less from starting a business.

Wang Lifen’s comment on entrepreneurship is, “I’d rather stumble across a sudden death on the way to the unknown rather than pick an easy way whose end is in view.”

“At CCTV, you can be definitely clear about what’s the next and you’d expect where you can be. Now with Umiwi, it’s different; of course, to some extent you also have expectations and know where to go, but there is bigger room for the unexpected, which is the biggest difference. It’s especially true for internet industry that it’s not a business that you can just follow a schedule and in many cases the schedule cannot catch up with changes. You must be very adapative to new comings.”

Wang Lifen is a veteran in TV production industry, she is acquainted with big names and she is famous herself, all of which are taken as her advantages as a starter.But she said, “All the hardship, all the tortuous, all the exploration, you have to go through inch by inch by yourself. Not a single inch can be skipped by taking advices from the experienced. ”

“I often read stories of entrepreneurs’. It’s not that I expect to learn from one’s experience, but that I want to read a different life, wondering how everyone is living in this big world. Every sucess cannot be duplicated. “”You may avoid the wrong path by learning from failures, but it doesn’t happen often; you may make a better decision by reading more stories, but you’d better not expect it will be too much better.”

“I value entrepreneurship as the best way to learn about the society and yourself. There is no other way so bloody, so authentic as it is; right in the face of human nature.”