Gong Yu, CEO of Chinese internet firm Baidu's (Nasdaq: BIDU) subsidiary online video site, Qiyi, recently revealed that Qiyi's central focus is professionally-produced long-form video content. Gong said that short news video clips on the site are only topic-based or related to entertainment news, and added that Qiyi has never carried user generated content, and has no plans whatsoever to do so in the future. Qiyi plans to venture into producing its own dramatic and variety programming this year, though not on a large scale.
In the year since its launch, Qiyi has seen traffic and users grow significantly. User statistics for the site indicate that slightly more than 50% of Qiyi users arrive at the site via Baidu, though the percentage has steadily dropped several points each month. Baidu accounted for more than 40% of webpages visited immediately prior to a visit to Qiyi.
Gong said that Qiyi's new video SNS product, "Qitan" (qitan.qiyi.com), is a key strategic product. Qiyi will launch a premium content channel in May, consisting primarily of feature-length films and educational programs. Gong said that while it is unlikely the market for premium online video services will grow significantly over the next year or two, China's online video sites are all trialing paid services.
When asked whether Qiyi is pursuing a solution for viewing online videos on TV sets similar to Chinese online video company LeTV's (300104.SZ) set-top box product, Gong said Qiyi is currently developing a TV-related product, but because the market is not yet mature and there are still regulatory restrictions, the company has so far only conducted exploratory R&D into potential technology and products, but has no plans yet for actual commercial products.
Gong revealed that Qiyi currently hosts more than 60,000 film and television items. The site currently has a staff of 400, of which 140 are technical staff.