Tencent has formed an “Online Video Business Unit” to combine Tencent Video, short video service Weishi, as well as app store Yingyongbao in its latest corporate reshuffle, 36Kr reported on Thursday.
By restructuring the businesses, Tencent hopes to create synergy between the platforms, at a time when Weishi is underperforming compared to both Douyin and Kuaishou in the short video market, while Tencent Video is dragging on heavy losses, despite being a top player in the extended video market, said the report. Tencent didn’t disclose detailed revenue numbers in its annual report for 2020. Tencent Video had 106 million subscribers in 2019.
Video streaming competitor iQiyi also generated net losses of RMB 7 billion (USD 1.07 billion) in 2020 and RMB 10.3 billion (USD 1.58 billion) in 2019, according to its annual reports. Its subscriber count dropped to 101.7 million last year, down from 106.9 million in 2019. Both Tencent Video and iQiyi have hit roadblocks as they tried to enlarge their active user bases—as well as paying users—as short video platforms are monopolizing people’s screen time.
Tencent abandoned plans to acquire iQiyi due to tightened anti-monopoly regulations. The firm revitalized its Weishi app at the beginning of 2018, but its daily active users remained at between 40 million and 50 million, lagging behind Kuaishou’s 300 million and Douyin’s 600 million.
Tencent Video, iQiyi, Youyu, and other platforms issued a joint statement last week, calling on short video-makers to respect the copyrights of TVs and films, urging them to seek authorization before making them available for streaming.