Five months after the organizational changes, Youku Tudou announced today that the video streaming site is re-branding under Heyi Group, marking a significant strategic shift from its previous focus on traffic and traditional video content to self-produced content.
The company will invest tens of billions (RMB) in the next three years to construct a culture and entertainment ecosystem, according to the company.
Currently, Youku Tudou’s revenue mainly comes from ads during videos. The transformation will allow the company to increase earnings from content marketing and consumers, which is mainly derived from subscription-based service and interactive live entertainment, according to Victor Koo, CEO of Youku Tudou.
As the first step towards this goal, Youku Tudou announced investments in a raft of five startups that may contribute to the construction of a professional community. Here’s a full list of the companies:
Jiae.com specializes in marketing trend-setting, innovative design products. It helps designers and global brands launch new products, build brand awareness, and expand market reach in China. After the investment, Jiae will assist Youku Tudou’s efforts in developing derivative products based on video content produced the investor to support its e-commerce business.
AcFun is an ACG (animation, comic, game) video portal that is characterized by the popular Danmu or “Bullet Curtain”service, which engages audiences by providing live comment displays for online video comment sharing. The company has confirmed with Tencent Tech that this financing round hit $50 million USD, but it didn’t specify the timeframe for the investment.
Copyright issues have long been a headache for “Bullet Curtain websites” as they commonly host or link to pirated videos to display user commentaries on the same screen. Before this tie-up, Youku Tudou and AcFun just settled a piracy suit this March.
The fund will be used to purchase copyrighted content and for cooperation with content providers, said Sun Wen, CEO of AcFun. Victor Koo added that the company will provide full support to AcFun in financing, content and production of animated films.
Joyme is a mobile game station focused on strategies, information, gift bag stores, game platforms, mobile apps, and more. The company announced this week that it has raised its series C funding led by Youku Tudou with participation from Chinese mobile gaming company Ourpalm.
Rongyi Education is an educational services provider that offers training courses for actors, film producers, artist agents and marketing talents. The investment will bring the two parties together to foster more professional talents for the music, gaming and animation industries.
Logical Thinking is a knowledge-based networking community for China’s younger generations. It interacts with followers through various means including WeChat subscription accounts and talk shows.
Along with efforts to advance its original content by partnering with premium content providers, Youku Tudou has put a lot of efforts into developing user-generated content and self-produced content. According to data from the company, in-house content now accounts for more than 50% of its traffic from both of its video streaming sites Youku and Tudou. Over ten self-produced programs, such as Rage Comics and Logic Thinking have hit a market valuation of over 100 million RMB.
In addition to their ambitious push into self-produced content, the Alibaba-backed online video giant is hopping onto the virtual reality bandwagon, investing in the development of original VR content.
Image credit: Sohu