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Internet killed the TV star

Updated: Nov 13,2014 9:34 AM     China Daily

Popular TV shows The Voice of China(above) and Where Are We Going, Dad? have helped major video-streaming sites attract millions of viewers.[Photo/Provided to China Daily]

TV is in trouble. A late October report says hundreds of millions of Chinese, especially youth, are swapping traditional TV sets for online video sites.

There were 428 million online video users in China in 2013-accounting for 69.3 percent of the country’s Web users, who increased by 13 percent over 2012, says the report, Video Everywhere.

The number of people who use smartphones to watch video increased 83.8 percent to 247 million from 2012-13.

Only 9 percent of China’s 1.28 billion TV viewers had a college degree or higher. The average age of mobile users was 29, while that of people who viewed online videos on personal computers was 31 and that of TV viewers was 39.

“It’s common for today’s user to own several screens (TVs, personal computers, smartphones and other mobile devices), which has led to the boom in the online industry,” the report says.

“The TV industry faces a serious challenge in retaining the younger generation. It needs to reform, despite its currently leading position.”

The report was coauthored by professionals led by China International Television Corp’s vice-chairman Zhang Haichao and CSM Media Research’s deputy directing manager Zheng Weidong.

Forty-eight percent of TV viewers watched TV series and 15 percent watched news via the traditional medium, the report says.

Seventy-six percent of online video users watched feature films over the Internet, while movies shown on TV could hook viewers for 6.9 minutes on average.

Domestic TV ads generated 119 billion yuan ($19.43 billion) in 2013, the report shows.

The online video market generated 12.8 billion yuan in total that year. But revenues may surge since major video-streaming sites geared up to buy TV programs’ broadcast rights in 2013.

Commercial bids in the third season of Zhejiang Television’s The Voice of China, the reality talent show based on The Voice of Holland, reached a stunning 1.3 billion yuan, which probably makes it the most lucrative TV program this year.

The report says Sohu Video bought Season 2 of The Voice of China in the summer of 2013 for nearly 100 million yuan but still made a profit through advertisements. Baidu.com affiliate IQiyi.com introduced Season 2 of Hunan Television’s popular reality show Where Are We Going, Dad? and earned 66 million yuan by selling naming rights.

TV’s future will become even more uncertain as these ambitious newcomers to cyberspace begin to produce their own programs. Iqiyi’s collaboration with Henan Television to coproduce Hero of Chinese Characters, a reality show resembling the US’ Spelling Bee, has been a success.

“Online video will continue to attract more investment, and its freer space and faster growth will also draw more TV industry professionals, who will greatly improve programs’ quality,” the report says.

“They will have more say when negotiating with television broadcasters in terms of entertainment shows.”

Popular TV shows The Voice of China and Where Are We Going, Dad? (above) have helped major video-streaming sites attract millions of viewers.[Photo/Provided to China Daily]

More people choose to use smartphones or other mobile devices to watch video in China.[Photo by Xu Chongde/For China Daily]

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