Lagging behind, Tencent short videos app turns to movies and TV
Tencent Holdings has announced that it will reposition its Weishi app to focus on film and TV content as the short video platform struggles to gain users in an increasingly saturated domestic market dominated by Douyin and Kuaishou. .
Weishi will move away from sharing user videos and instead offer TV and movie clips, help distribute Tencent’s licensed content and set up a system to redistribute the works of other creators, the vice president said. Sun Zhonghuai at a press conference Monday in Shanghai.
The announcement comes after the Hong Kong-listed company integrated Weishi and several other platform and content offerings into a new online video business unit led by Sun, with the aim of improving profitability and quality.
Sun lambasted China’s short video culture at an industry forum last week, calling the clips “less and less intellectual and vulgar” and likening them to “pig food.” People watching the videos are “like idiots,” he said, adding that the way these apps use algorithms to recommend similar clips was similar to “brainwashing” and under pressure from regulators. and industry auditors.
Tencent’s internal upheaval comes as investors grow nervous about potential government crackdowns in China’s tech sector. Tencent, which also operates the WeChat messaging app, has seen its stock price drop more than 20% since reaching an all-time high in February.
Weishi struggled to carve out a niche in China’s huge short video market under pressure from Douyin from ByteDance – known as TikTok outside the country – and the app from Kuaishou Technology.
According to Chinese research firm Quest Mobile, Weishi had less than 100 million monthly active users (MAUs) at the end of the first quarter. By comparison, industry leader Douyin said last year it has around 600 million MAU and Kuaishou 520 million, according to its latest earnings report.
Speaking at an event marking Tencent Video’s 10th anniversary, Sun said the formation of the company’s online video unit was based on management considerations regarding resource allocation and behavioral changes. users.
“Over the past two years, it has been difficult to satisfy users with all of the long videos or all of the short videos in one app,” he said, adding that more and more users expect to be able to see their favorite content on one platform.
“In terms of television and cinema, they not only want to watch feature films, but also additional content derived from these series, chat and communicate with other fans,” Sun said.
Tencent set up the unit in December, Sun said. In addition to Weishi, it includes streaming service Tencent Video and its overseas twin WeTV, mobile application hosting service Yingyongbao, and Tencent Sports.
Sun is the CEO of the unit with Lin Songtao as chairman. Both report to Ren Yuxin, COO of Tencent and head of its platform and content group, as well as its interactive entertainment group.
Since April, Tencent and other Chinese streaming giants like Youku Tudou and iQiyi have pledged to fight piracy on the country’s short video platforms, which have been criticized for hosting users who illegally clip or stream. copyrighted material.
Online platforms that host longer videos typically struggle to ensure long-term ROIs and high-quality content. Tencent Video lost about 3 billion yuan ($ 470 million) in 2019, according to the company’s financial reports. Rival iQiyi lost 10.3 billion yuan that year.
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