BEIJING: Competition in the Chinese online video sector seems set to increase, as several government-backed media firms expand their operations on the web. China Central Television
, Shanghai Media Group
and Hunan Television
have all recently said they will make more content available on the internet. Baidu
, which is China's biggest search engine, has similarly announced its own plans to host copyrighted videos online.
In the US, Hulu
, an ad-supported service backed by firms including News Corp
, allows domestic web users to view free TV content, and is reported to have picked up viewers from YouTube
since its launch three years ago.Edward Yu
, ceo of Analysys International
, a research firm, commented: "The success of Hulu in the US has emboldened Chinese companies and media groups of this business model's huge potential."Youku.com
– the YouTube-style, foreign capital-backed sites which dominate the online video market at present – have both faced accusations of carrying pirated content, and could be hit hard by the launch of the new sites.
Smaller firms specialising in streaming live TV content, including Xunlei
, are likely to be more vulnerable still. Gary Wang
, ceo of Tudou.com, said: "We are dancing with a group of elephants ... If we don't dance carefully, we could easily get crushed."
In an interview with China Daily
, Victor Koo
, ceo of Youku.com, said the amount of authorised, rather than pirated, content on the site would greatly increase during 2010.
Koo also suggested that the impact of the government-backed online video services on his business might not prove to be as bad as initially predicted.
Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by Warc staff