Youku ready to add viewers’ data to help Alibaba refine online shopping customers’ profile

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 December, 2016, 4:24pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 December, 2016, 9:40pm

Youku Tudou Inc, operator of China’s most-watched video streaming service with 30 million paying viewers, said it’s poised to complete the integration of its subscribers’ data into the e-commerce platforms of its parent Alibaba Group Holdings.

The combination of Youku-Tudou viewers with Alibaba’s online shopping customers will give Alibaba, which also operates a cloud computing business, the data to construct more precise profiles of its customers, enabling relevant advertising to be pushed to them to spur their retail spending.

“Alibaba knows the shopping preferences of 400 million online shoppers while Youku-Tudou knows their video viewing habits, said Yang Weidong, president of the business group.

The next stage of the integration will be to build a data analysis model to get more accurate profiles of each viewer, Yang said.

Youku-Tudou, which marked its 10th anniversary of establishment this week with the launch of a new logo, is aiming to use its new image to better engage younger viewers who are seen by online video sites as the must-have demographic for winning China’s multibillion yuan video streaming market.

Young people are very important for the entertainment industry because they have more time to spend on leisure, and are more willing to pay to have fun, said Youku-Tudou’s senior vice president Tony Yang.

As many as 99 per cent of the estimated 70 million viewers who pay for online videos are under the age of 36, according to a survey by Beijing-based market research firm EntGroup. That’s more than the population of France.

For any online video streaming platform wanting survive in China, snapping up as many paying customers as possible remains the top priority.

Youku has an edge over its competitors because it’s owned by Alibaba, which has used the financial muscle of its US$222 billion in market capitalisation to acquire offline companies and overseas assets to build an ecosystem for its customers, Yang said.

Alibaba, which also owns the South China Morning Post, paid US$1.22 billion in April to take over Youku-Tudou.

Yang uses the word “ecosystem” a lot as he foresees the battle in China’s fast-growing video-streaming sector to no longer be between sites, but be about the resources that they can assemble from their parents.

China’s three largest video streaming libraries and services are operated by affiliates of the country’s three largest-capitalised Internet companies. Besides Alibaba’s Youku-Tudou, Tencent Holdings owns Tencent Video, while search engine Baidu Ins owns iQiyi.

China has 514 million online video viewers as of June, according to a report by the China Internet Network Information Center.

About 72.4 per cent of the country’s netizens watch videos online. Online video apps are the most downloaded apps among all the online entertainment services.