China’s largest news aggregator Toutiao, which has already invested into a bunch of short video apps, is reportedly making a bold stride to produce longer videos, namely making self-produced TV dramas and variety shows, adding the likes of Alibaba’s Youku, Tencent Video and Baidu-backed iQiyi to its competitors list, according to a local report.
The company’s recent recruiting coincides with the news. A local Wechat-based self-media account founded that the Chinese tech giant
.“Toutiao is looking for content that can be adapted to dramas and movies for online platforms,” a source told the self-media account, “The aggregator is likely to put the content on its flagship news app and subsidiary short video platform Xigua in a bid to continuously attract new users, especially women users. Currently, the majority of its users are male.”
Founded in 2012, Toutiao, officially known as Bytedance, has over 200 million daily active users across its apps including flagship news aggregator Toutiao, TopBuzz – an overseas version of Toutiao, and Xigua which is one of the most popular short video apps in China.
Toutiao has invested heavily in short videos and has successfully launched platforms– Xigua, Huoshan and Douyin—which were all among top 10 China’s short video streaming app in Q3 2017. Last year, it acquired Flipgram, an LA-based video startup and Musical.ly, a lip-syncing video app claiming 20 million daily active users globally. The company has also invested USD50 million in Live.me, a live-streaming app targeting young adults in the U.S. in an aim to glue content makers, the platform pumped in RMB2 billion (US$302.77 million) to subsidize short video makers.
Currently, China’s online streaming scene is dominated by three major platforms including Alibaba-acquired Youku, Tencent’s Tencent Video and Baidu-backed iQiyi. The three platforms have all bet heavily on self-made drama and variety shows and have produced many hits including Youku’s Day and Night, a detective drama series bought by Netflix and The Rap of China of iQiyi, which caused a sensation last summer and turned some nobody contestants into stars.
Toutiao is one of the world’s most valuable unicorns according to CB Insights. The company is well funded by Sequoia Capital China and SIG Asia Investment among other investors. The company was reportedly raising new funding from some of its existing investors at a valuation of over USD 30 billion in December 2017.