TV and on­line me­dia— co­op­er­at­ing for a thriv­ing fu­ture

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - ByWANG KAIHAO wangkai­hao@chi­

Tele­vi­sion chan­nels and the on­line me­dia need not nec­es­sar­ily be ri­vals. They can co­op­er­ate in an ever-grow­ing mar­ket.

At least, this was the mes­sage at a fo­rum or­ga­nized by the Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Univer­sity of China in Bei­jing last week.

The co-host of the fo­rum, Toutiao, which means “head­line” in Chi­nese, one of the coun­try’s most pop­u­lar smart­phone news ap­pli­ca­tions, re­vealed its am­bi­tion to work more closely with the tra­di­tional me­dia.

“We’re dis­trib­u­tors of news,” says Zhao Tian, vi­cepres­i­dent of Toutiao. “Tele­vi­sion will help us to build a win-win industry.”

Toutiao, which was set up in 2012, claims to have 310 mil­lion users, 30 mil­lion of them ac­tive daily. It pro­motes in­di­vid­u­al­ized con­tent for dif­fer­ent users ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis of their view­ing pref­er­ences. More than 20,000 ar­ti­cles are read via the plat­form ev­ery day.

More than 400 tele­vi­sion, TV chan­nels and pro­grams have opened ac­counts on Toutiao to pro­mote their con­tent, but Zhao says that this is only the start.

A suc­cess­ful ex­am­ple of the co­op­er­a­tion in re­cent times was Sept 3’s mil­i­tary pa­rade in Bei­jing com­mem­o­rat­ing the 70th an­niver­sary of vic­tory in the War of Re­sis­tance against Ja­panese



the Ag­gres­sion (1937-45).

China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion re­leased its short videos, which were not broad­cast on TV, via Toutiao’s plat­form. The videos were viewed 80 mil­lion times in a sin­gle day.

“There is still huge po­ten­tial to pro­duce short videos in China,” says Zhao.

“China’s video web­sites mainly fo­cus on long videos, such as soap op­eras or re­al­ity shows.

“Some news videos may qual­ify to be broad­cast on na­tional tele­vi­sion, but they could be use­ful to the com­mu­nity. This could en­cour­age more plat­forms like Toutiao to mush­room in the near fu­ture.”

Mean­while, for some tele­vi­sion chan­nels, big data and such on­line plat­forms has be­come their source of broad­cast news.

For in­stance,

Shang­haibased Dragon TV has kicked off a news pro­gram Head­lines which uses con­tent and data from Toutiao.

Zhou Wei, the pro­ducer of Head­lines, says: “We have to ad­just the con­tent when we broad­cast on TV.

“Tra­di­tional tele­vi­sion still has the ad­van­tage of higher cred­i­bil­ity. I don’t be­lieve that we will be re­placed by ‘self me­dia’ (a term used to de­scribe news chan­nels op­er­ated by in­di­vid­u­als).

“Maybe it’s easy for them to have wide in­flu­ence, but it is dif­fi­cult for them main­tain an equally high stan­dard ev­ery day. We of­fer­thema­bet­ter plat­form to max­i­mize their value.”

Nev­er­the­less, the trend to­ward on­line me­dia looks ir­re­versible as fewer peo­ple watch TV in China.

Ac­cord­ing to a tele­vi­sion­rat­ings anal­y­sis com­pany CSM, in China, a TV viewer spent 156 min­utes ev­ery day watch­ing TV in the first half of 2015, com­pared with 168 min­utes in the first half of 2011.

A statis­tic from Nielsen China, a re­search com­pany, re­leased at the fo­rum says that last year 461 mil­lion peo­ple in China watched videos through the In­ter­net, and 354 mil­lion through mobile de­vices like smart­phones.

There were 230 mil­lion house­holds of cable TV users in China at the end of June, a de­crease of 2.2 per­cent com­pared with six months ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to Lyu Yan­mei, an of­fi­cial with the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Press, Pub­li­ca­tion, Ra­dio, Film and Tele­vi­sion.

“It is an in­dis­putable fact that tele­vi­sion is los­ing its dom­i­na­tion as a main­stream me­dia,” Lyu says. “A mix­ture of tele­vi­sion and new me­dia is in­evitable.”

China’s reg­u­la­tions now do not al­low re­gional tele­vi­sion chan­nels (with ex­cep­tion of satel­lite TV) to broad­cast their pro­grams to other ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gions.

“Con­se­quently, they can only ex­pand their in­flu­ence by turn­ing their pro­grams into on­line prod­ucts. So the au­di­ences need to be turned into users to in­crease in­ter­ac­tion,” Lyu says.

“China’s tele­vi­sion ad­min­is­tra­tors of­ten stay away from the In­ter­net, which is op­er­ated by telecom firms. Now, they will have to be more ac­tive.”

It is an in­dis­putable fact that tele­vi­sion is los­ing its dom­i­na­tion as a main­stream me­dia.”

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