By Gu Yekai, People’s Daily

The online audio-and-video industry, represented by short videos, is seeing emerging new scenarios and business forms. It not only enriches people’s everyday life, but also profoundly changes the way of cultural production, communication and consumption.

According to a report on the development of the industry recently released, the number of internet audio-and-video users in China reached 1.04 billion as of December 2022, and the general market size of the country’s online audio-and-video industry exceeded 700 billion yuan (about $101.8 billion) last year.

In particular, the growth of the industry mainly came from the short video sector, which now has 1.012 billion users and becomes the largest internet audio-and-video application category.

Li Jun, general manager of the Chengdu branch of Migu, a digital content subsidiary of Chinese communication giant China Mobile, told People’s Daily that the short video sector has a huge user base and strong capability to attract new users.

The innovative formats and diverse content of short videos not only strengthen users’ interaction and participation but also stimulate their creativity and desire to express themselves, while the in-depth integration of short video platforms and other applications has built a cross-field content distribution and communication network that provides users with wider access to get to the sector, Li explained.

Zhang Chenliang, director of the media center of the Chinese National Geography magazine, is a video blogger that owns 23 million online followers.

Compared with photos and articles, short videos come with various elements such as images, voice-over, music and film editing, which create richer content and help with the dissemination of popular science, Zhang said.

According to him, this year marks the 12th year since he joined science popularizationand the 3rd year after he switched from graphics and contexts to short video communication.

Livestreaming makes another important part of the online audio-and-video industry. The report said that with 751 million users, livestreaming services are the second largest internet audio-and-video application category after short video. Today, livestreaming is deeply integrated with entertainment, education, commerce and other fields.

Zhifang village in Hebi, central China’s Henan province has become a renowned tourist attraction thanks to the exquisite wall paintings made by young artist Shang Qinjie. Now, with the assistance of online audio and video platforms, the village has gone viral on the Internet, which has made rural tourism even more prosperous.

The online audio-and-video industry, apart from spreading information, can also create new business scenarios and forms in work and life.

“Take consumer services as an example. To meet users’ demands, we support offline business scenarios through short videos and livestreaming. This enables merchants in different regions and of different sizes to expand online business on our platform,” said Li Ran, a general manager of the consumer service department of Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.

Yu Bing has over 10 years of experience in the bookselling industry. She had run multiple offline bookstores in Harbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province.

According to Yu, many physical bookstores are in a difficult situation today.

“It’s not because the business form of bookstores is outdated, but that they need to upgrade and restructure themselves following the changes in the form of knowledge dissemination. The online audio-and-video industry exactly offers a new opportunity,” Yu said.

The woman is now a short video creator that recommends books from the perspective of a bookseller and shares her knowledge about book publishing. This makes her more confident in the offline bookstore business. This year, she is planning to open a new bookstore.

New business scenarios and forms enabled by the online audio-and-video industry are playing a more prominent role in people’s work and life.

According to the report, 42.7 percent of users made at least a purchase while watching online videos or livestreaming in the recent six months, 27 percentage points higher than that in 2020.

Li Jun believes that the online audio-and-video industry is getting diversified with more market segments. Its content covers not only entertainment and social interaction, but also news, knowledge and consumer services, which further empowers entrepreneurship, employment and the development of the real economy, he explained.

Quality content is still the most important part of the sustainable development of the online audio-and-video industry. Over recent years, short videos have played an important role in knowledge dissemination. According to a recent report published by Douyin, the view counts of reading-related videos on the platform surged 65.17 percent year-on-year in 2022, and the number of such videos added to users’ favorite lists saw a jump of 276.14 percent. Besides, 279.44 percent more reading-related videos longer than five minutes were posted on the short video platform last year.


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