Alibaba Group and Youku Tudou, the leading Chinese video site (in which the former has a 16.5% stake), have jointly announced two programs for retailers on Alibaba marketplaces to market themselves on the video platform.

View and Buy on Youku, as the name indicates, allows viewers to buy the items shown in a video without pausing the playing video. It is powered by Alimama, the Google AdSense-like contextual advertising program of Alibaba. Alimama display ads based on user behavior on Alibaba’s marketplaces.

So far almost all Chinese videos sites make revenues from pre-, mid-, and post-roll ads. Youku Tudou hasn’t turned a profit with it yet. If users liked making purchases when watching a video, the transaction-based ad revenue stream could be a big help for the video site hitting profitability.

A similar program has been available on Sina Weibo, in which Alibaba also has a stake. Sina Weibo allows retailers to post items as micro-posts so that users can make purchases without leaving their Weibo homepage.

Another marketing program announced today is the Merchants’ Video Channel on Tudou, a content marketing project that encourage businesses to produce original video content for branding.

Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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