Zhu Feng (left), founder and CMO of Star Station TV, and one of her colleagues wearing a football mask, anchor a soccer program.
Quick videos prove a hit among mobile app users, business, investments grow
The ingredients of a successful Chinese digital cocktail－entertainment, technology, innovation and business－are unmistakable in the rise of the short video "industry".
They have yet again combined to create an online segment that is spawning hundreds of startups, thousands of aspiring performers, millions of users and billions in investments.
By this year-end, the number of online users enjoying short videos (whose duration is 10 seconds to a few minutes each) is expected to rise almost 58 percent year-on-year to reach a record 242 million, according to a report by the iiMedia Research, a global mobile internet firm focusing on third-party data mining and analysis.
Short videos focus on themes like travel, food, beauty, animation, sports and other leisure areas, as well as lifestyle information and real-time market information.
Wang Xiaohong, secretary-general of the China Online Video Research Center, said: "It is an inevitable trend that the short video format will become part of our daily life. The short video segment has become the most promising business, attracting a large number of platforms and investments."
This world of social mobile internet is inhabited by young startups that boast tens of millions of young users each (and, sometimes, unicorn valuations), young performers who rake in millions of yuan in personal earnings, established players that pump in billions of yuan on business expansion, and investors that are ever eager to back potential success stories to the extent of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Aikelili, a 22-year-old photographer and a videographer in Guangdong province, best captures the unfolding story.
He likes to upload many funny short videos on to Miaopai, a Chinese video sharing and live streaming service platform. Typically, his videos are less than a minute long, but some last a few minutes.
They show him dressed as a 30-something woman wearing ugly make-up, indulging in humor－a big draw for the app's users. His fan base is already over 6 million and increasing by the minute.
Aikelili is not a stray app-star. Papi Jiang, a female student pursuing a master's degree in theater direction at the Central Academy of Drama, Beijing, shot to fame after uploading similar original and funny short videos.
Her series of online videos have earned her countless fans. Last year, she received 12 million yuan (.7 million) from venture capital firms toward funding for her startup.
Their videos may be short, original, funny, but performers carefully plan their creations, to attract viewer eyeballs as well as investor attention, given the big money involved. Short videos are as much a platform for self-expression as they are well-thought-out new-age business.
Wang of the COVRC stressed that the distinction between short videos and long videos is not limited to their length. "The most obvious feature of short videos is that they have become a means for people to express themselves. They exist not just to convey information but to create opportunities for communication."
A good example in this regard is Miaopai, a short video-sharing platform run by Yixia.com. A startup strong in video and live streaming technology, it clocks average daily visitors of more than 70 million. More than 1.5 million videos are uploaded daily.