Content generators in the US tend to monetise their viewers and followers through advertising on platforms such as Youtube. But in China, the per-per-view and pay-to-subscribe models are very common ways of monetising your followers. Consumers in China are much less averse to paying for content than their American counterparts. This has paved the way for a new content sharing model:
These platforms bring together experts and informed members of the public. Consumers pay for the insight, expertise and information provided. This can come in the form of a news feed or a consulting service.
There are 2 different types of platform at present:
Third party service providers, such as Little Goose, provide non-transmission services to content generators. Within the content platforms, there are those who provide:
Companies in the PGC space include De Dao and Himalaya, who cooperate with other providers in content planning, dissemination and creation. Companies in the UGC space include Fenda and Jianshu, who allow their users to create the content and posts rather than focusing on creating their own content. According to their content, these providers can be categorised into the following types:
With 60 million active users, Himalaya launched it’s first paid content in June 2016. It’s users open the app an average of 3.9 times per day and consume 124 minutes of content. It’s videos receive a total daily plays of 90 million. Their content is both professionally developed and copyrighted, with a mix of user generated content intertwined. Himalaya is very well noted for creating exclusive content in conjunction with famous and highly sought after content creators. It partners with these creators to plan, develop, create, price and distribute the content, therefore controlling the price and quality. Their paid content is tiered between high quality columns, low priced entries and also episodic programming. They have over 5 million content generators and broadcaster, of which 200,000 are considered VIPs. Their VIPs alone have created 60 million broadcasts on 328 topics, including marketing, investments, and interpersonal communication.
Founded by Logic Group in November 2015, they allow users to generate e-books, recordings, columns and more. The content is then filtered and polished to create pay walled content called “Big Shot” in 3 areas:
This “Big Shot” content is hosted by known experts, but created in a partnership with De Dao during their creating. Topics include education, art, finance, employment and investments. This content has been accessed over 12.91 million times and generated more that 250RMB in revenue. One column hosted by finance and media personality Li Xiang raked in over 10,000 subscribers on it’s release day, each of them paying 199RMB each and generation revenue of over 20 million RMB.
This is the biggest knowledge sharing platform online in the whole of China. It’s main service offered is a free Q&A platform. But it has also launched Zhihu Live, which is a paid service offering consulting services and e-books on a variety of topics. It is built around the live streaming of lectured on topics like:
The content is then categorised in to 3 tiers:
Additionally, eBooks are priced at around 10RMB each. Their consulting service allows users to ask a question online for 1RMB, and they recieve an answer via voicemail from an expert, plus access to FAQs which have been prerecorded.
This is the knowledge sharing platform provided by Guokr.com, a social sharing forum site based around user interests. The Fenda model is based around paid live Q&A which users can tune in to, as well as short lectures and paid forums. Their flagship product is the “1 Minute Q&A” which gives users answers to technical and topic questions quickly after they pay a fee. Once these quick questions have been answered, other users can pay 1RMB to listen to the recording. Their content was once focused on leisure and entertainment, but is now moving towards being more practical and educational, with a user base concentrated in tier 1 cities.
Weibo is a microblogging social media, and their Q&A platform allows users to interact with public figures for a fee. Since Weibo already had a user base of 300 million, including many well known personalities, it quickly became a hit.
40,000 new pieces of text and photo content are published on Jianshu every day, with the total available on the platform being over 10 million. It’s content mostly covers topics like technology, employment, internet and writing. However, it also holds a big database of cultural content like poetry and books. It’s users are very loyal because of the large amount of original content available.
Lychee users a WeChat corporate account for the basis of its platform. It allows users to purchase content, and broadcast their own content over the platform. So far, they have around 1 million content contributors. In addition, 16 organisations have launched 90,000 different courses on the platform. It has an average of 1 million users per day. Around 61 million users have listen to their content, which is mainly recordings. Pictures, slideshows and videos are also available, around 20% must be paid to view. 68% of their sales come from column subscriptions, which cost around 90RMB. The aveerage profit made from a column in 5425RMB, whereas for a course profit is around 425RMB.
Little Goose is a service provider based on WeChat. It supports content creators in areas like payment support, content management, data analysis, content sharing and more. It offers a free service, but it’s two basic and professional packages are paid. Basic is priced as 1% of the creators income, up to a maximum fee of 4500RMB per year. The professional package costs 4800RMB regardless of income. Over 6000 businesses currently use Little Goose, with 100 new users joining every day.