Chinese top video streaming site iQiyi has rolled out a new plan to support educational short-video creators with more exposure and cash rewards, in an effort to speed up the commercialization of the money-losing platform by leveraging paid courses.
The company announced the new project called “Aizhi Plan” (meaning “Love Knowledge Plan” in English) on Wednesday at a conference held for its standalone app “iQiyi Knowledge,” a platform providing both paid and free courses, unveiled in May. The platform, evolving from iQiyi’s “education” channel, currently covers content such as K12 school subjects, exam-oriented training, vocational studies, and parenting.
iQiyi Knowledge’s work will be centered around “IP (Intellectual Property) spin-offs,” “interactive videos,” and “Wikipedia-style short-videos,” the company said. Yet, no more details about the Aizhi Plan were provided.
As of September, iQiyi had over 100 lecturers and 18,000 courses, according to local media Lanjing. In comparison, the audio-sharing platform Ximalaya, one of the top players in the country’s paid knowledge market, claimed to host more than 7 million bloggers as of September.
The further move aligns with iQiyi’s strong desire to profit off its huge user base. In the third quarter of 2019, iQiyi reported total revenues of RMB 7.4 billion (USD 1 billion) with a widening net loss of RMB 3.7 billion (USD 516 million). Meanwhile, the growth in new users weakened. The number of its subscribers grew by 31% year-on-year to 105.8 million, down from 89% in the same period last year.
According to third-party research firm iiMedia, the number of Chinese users paying for knowledge is predicted to hit 387 million by the end of 2019 and the paid knowledge market volume in China is expected to reach RMB 23.5 billion (USD 3.2 billion) in 2020.
Other video platforms are also coveting this rising business, in a bid to enrich their content ecosystem and unlock more monetization potentials, KrAsia reported.
Bilibili, well-known for its anime, comics, and gaming-centric content (ACG), started to beta-test its service “Bilibili Class” at the end of October, tapping into the paid courses business.
Short-video app Kusihou, a platform with 210 million daily active users (DAUs), has been paying attention to education-related content. It currently allows educational content creators to upload paid videos and profit from the feature.
ByteDance’s Douyin released a report on Wednesday saying that the platform hosted over 74,000 knowledge content creators with more than ten thousand followers, who’s videos collectively amassed 5 billion views every day.