Youku Releases 2018 World Cup Broadcasting Results, Outshined by Short Video Performance

Youku Tudou Inc. published on July 16 its performance data of the 2018 World Cup in Russia after broadcasting one-month football matches online as official new media partner of China’s central television station.

Youku, the Chinese online video hub owned by Alibaba Group, won the new media broadcasting rights from China Central Television (CCTV) in May to broadcast the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia to the mainland Chinese audience. Another new media broadcasting partner was Migu Video.

The copyright fee Youku paid to broadcast the 2018 World Cup was about 1.6 billion yuan ($250 million) and Migu paid about 1 billion yuan.

Youku disclosed the results of investing in the World Cup: the final between France and Croatia had attracted more than 24 million viewers, an increase of 100 percent from the opening match. The number of viewers for all 64 games totaled more than 180 million.

 The number of viewers for all 64 games totaled more than 180 million.
The number of viewers for all 64 games totaled more than 180 million. Image Source: Youku.

Youku did not disclose the commercial outcomes of the 2018 World Cup broadcast but said that these data need to go through the disclosure process of listed companies.

However, as short videos emerge as a popular medium to broadcast sporting events such as the World Cup, users have more choices besides watching the games live. Tencent Sports, a major Chinese digital sports media platform that provides broadcasts of live sporting events and video clips, saw a total of 6.7 billion views on its World Cup-related short videos that reached 770 million users in the past month.

Ewell Zhao, general manager of Tencent Sports, said they became more aware, as the games proceeded, that short videos would become a trend in sports reporting. .

Zhang Zhe, senior operating director of Sina Weibo, Chinese twitter-like microblogging platform, said that as of the end of the semi-finals, the total number of World Cup videos on Weibo exceeded 14 billion. The number of views on World Cup-related Weibo posts also reached close to 90 billion.

Weibo did not pay for the copyright of these World Cup videos, instead, it is in a form of business sharing with CCTV, Youku, and other content providers. These short videos were repurposed from content made available through official cooperation with FIFA , FIFIA World Cup, CCTV‘s sports channel, and famous sports broadcasters.