BEIJING: Expectations for the short-form online video in China are growing at the rate of views, as the medium looks to swallow up a large portion of the country’s advertising spend in the coming years.

According to iMedia Research, short-form video viewers in China are expected to grow 60% by the end of 2017/18 to 242 million. By the end of the following year, the South China Morning Post observed, that number will reach 353 million, a population greater than the United States.

“The rise of short-form videos is the biggest change in the video industry over the past three years,” said Li Hao, CEO of agency, in comments reported by SCMP. “Within three years, on short-video platforms and social media, daily average views are almost 15 billion.”

Short videos’ promise is not without some casualties. In June, Alibaba’s online video platform, Alibaba subsidiary Youku Tudou, found in June that advertisers were switching away from its typical longer offerings and toward shorter videos on platforms like Weibo.

Research from Hangzhou-based video producer Ergeng suggests that brands are finding a younger, richer audience. More than 85% of short-form consumers are under 35, with the largest segment the 25-30 year-olds.

Typically based in tier one or two cities, a study from Analysys found in August that almost 65% of the short-form audience are millennials, knowledgeable about tech and ecommerce who wield a medium to high spending power.

Ergeng joins a group of 30 video producers that raised at least 850 million Yuan last year, suggesting that professional rather than user-generated content is coming into vogue, and taking on hefty investment.

“Last year alone, professionally generated content overtook user-generated content – that’s why we called 2016 ‘the starting year for short-form video’,” said Lin Guanchao, CEO of Ergeng.

While advertisers are not yet flooding the market, around half of the growth (56%) in the video market revenue came from ad revenue, according to iResearch.

The opportunity is not lost on the Tech giants of China. WeChat owner, Tencent will allegedly invest a billion Yuan (around USD$152 million) into supporting producers this year.

Data sourced from SCMP, WARC; additional content by WARC staff