What happened: Chinese online video platforms may see the number of their paid subscribers surpass 300 million in 2019, according to a report by consulting firm Entgroup. The report, which came out last month, also predicts the appearance of a single platform with more than 100 million subscribing members sometime during the year, citing top-tier platform iQiyi’s 89% year-on-year subscribing member growth in the third quarter of 2018.
Why it’s important: Paid online video is a large and rapidly growing market in China. In 2015, Chinese online video platforms only had 22 million paid subscribers, which skyrocketed to 230 million by the end of 2018. The growth is supposedly the result of high budget, high-rating series such as The Story of Yanxi Palace, that are exclusive or first available to paid members. That series, which ran on iQiyi over the summer, has a 7.9 rating on IMDB and reportedly had a budget of RMB 300 million (around $60 million). Top contenders for the more-than-100-million-subscriber-club could include Tencent Video, iQiyi, and Alibaba owned Youku. However, despite their fast growth in the past few years, Chinese online video platforms still trail behind Netflix in terms of subscriber numbers. As of the third quarter of 2018, iQiyi has around 80 million subscribers, while Netflix has around 130 million, according to Entgroup.