BERLIN — In an industry long dominated by Youku and Tudou, Baidu-backed iQiyi has risen to become the most popular VOD service in China.
Speaking with Beet.TV at this week’s Berlinale (Berlin Film Festival), iQiyi Motion Pictures president Li Yansong said this is despite three problems that have previously inhibited the market in China:
- Piracy: “In the wake of the 2014 Chinese government crackdown on piracy, many illegal websites were shut down… iQiyi and the MPAA joined hands to combat piracy.
- Convenience of payment: “As mobile tools such as Alipay have become faster and more convenient, paying for products online has become easier.”
- Window period: “As our relationship with Hollywood’s big six continues to deepen, the window period is narrowing. There is no window period for domestic films now. This means the moment a film leaves theatres, viewers can watch it on-demand online. I can predict, in the not so distant future, that many films will be released in theatres and VOD simultaneously, in order to boost box office sales.”
Last fall, Chinese mobile phone firm Xiaomi invested in both iQiyi and combined Youku-Tudou. Yansong compared iQiyi with Netflix.