Chinese video portal www.56.com's decision to launch a dedicated pay and watch video website from yesterday has prompted mixed responses from within the industry.
The website yesterday launched its brand-new paid video platform, kankan.56.com, for people to upload and set a price for watching their videos. The website in turn will charge a 10-percent commission from the uploaders and also rank the videos according to the number of views.
"Just like Taobao.com, we will provide a platform for free trade and allow multiple payment options like Internet banking and Alipay," said Wang Jianjun, CEO, 56.com.
With sales of nearly 100 billion yuan in 2008, Taobao has an 80-percent share of the C2C market. Alipay is its third-party payment platform.
However, not everyone thinks the move is a good plan. Gu Yongqiang, CEO of www.youku.com, the biggest Internet video provider in China with a market share of 28.79 percent, said it was too early to start charging individual users. Youku will stick to its free model while allowing for the possibility of small charges to be levied if the content is exceptional and users are prepared to pay for it.
Agreeing with Gu, Wang Wei, CEO of www.tudou.com, said his website does not plan to charge individual users for the foreseeable future, but suggested a fee-paying system could be applied on access via mobile phones using Third-Generation applications.
"If I can get access to videos for free, why should I pay for them?" asked Pan Yiming, 25, a fan of Internet video, who said she would never pay no matter how little she was charged.