As families gather to celebrate the lunar Chinese New Year this week, China’s three biggest subscription video on demand services - iQIYI, Tencent Video and Youku - have all been actively launching special promotions and offering new and themed content on their platforms to drive viewership, Ampere Analysis noted in its latest report.
For example, iQIYI released a recommendation list of 43 films and TV shows for viewing during the new year period, all of which are suitable for both individual and family viewing. The promoted titles cover a range of genres, designed to appeal widely: 12 titles are about family reunion and national history, ten are iQIYI’s most popular original thrillers and comedies, 14 are Chinese classics, eight are animations for younger viewers, and ten are new year galas streamed live from national broadcaster CCTV and regional broadcasters.
Both iQIYI and Tencent Video are also making premium content available for free. Tencent Video, for instance, is releasing content originally on its paid subscription-only tier to the free ad-funded tier on a daily basis. It has also enabled free access to all the children’s content on the premium tier. In a similar move, iQIYI released selective content for free streaming, and also unlocked its entire subscription-only library to people living in Covid-19 hotspots, including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Shaanxi provinces.
The three SVOD services are deep-pocketed but face competition not only from each other, but from rights holders of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. Only Tencent Video has rebroadcasting rights of the games, with the live streaming rights owned instead by China’s broadcaster CCTV, a smaller SVOD platform Migu Video (launched by the largest telco China Mobile), and short video platform Kuaishou.
“With the Winter Olympic Games starting on February 4, China’s three main subscription video on demand services have therefore had to boost their offers to attract viewers during the important New Year period,” commented Orina Zhao, Senior Analyst at Ampere Analysis and the author of the report.