Chinese video service LeTV admitted today on Sina Weibo that the company has received investments from Innovation Works, a Beijing-based incubator founded by former Google head Kaifu Lee.
The funding was broke by Jia Yueting, chairman and CEO of LeTV, who also revealed the Shenzhen Stock Exchange-listed company’s ambition — to build a TV-based video ecosystem to disrupt consumers’ Internet lifestyle.
At its “Disruption Day” press event held in this September, LeTV announced to make a 60-inch digital Super TV with Foxconn’s partnership. The Super TV, according to LeTV, was aiming to disrupt the current Chinese TV market.
Also, the big ‘disruptor’ mapped out an ambitious plan dubbed “Prometheus” to create an integral ecosystem comprised by Platform + Content + Device + Apps.
For an Internet company whose main business scope would just be: buying video content and then stream them to consumers, the step forward towards TV set making would be a risky move even they’re partnering with Apple’s OEM factory. That’s a different world!
One simple question is, who’re the target user group of the Super TV? For the senior generation, they go towards traditional TV brands like China’s Haier or Japan’s Sharp. For the young generation, they probably won’t consider buying a TV since they can get all they need via computer and Internet.
Another tricky problem for LeTV is, if the SuperTV is only supposed to stream contents provided by LeTV, can they still convince consumers into buying the gadget and give up other choices? I personally don’t see anything particular in LeTV when coming to content repository. What appears on their website could also be found on Youku, iQiyi or Sohu Video.
Seriously, if you need a device to stream contents to consumers, isn’t a set-top box enough already, just like the Xiaomi Box launched yesterday? And Xiaomi provided way more choices in content sources by partnering with multiple video services.
Since LeTV already had its set-top box offering, then why bother making a TV to do what they can achieve with a smaller and less costly device, to obtain and retain users within its platform. You don’t have to. A lesson is: traditional TV maker including Haier and TCL had long been working hard on producing a decent digital TV, with little success and low popularity among consumers.
Even LeTV itself conceded that there remains big challenge for its SuperTV to succeed in the market, the effort was riddled with many uncertainties.