Alibaba-and Tencent-backed content app Qutoutiao ‘pivots to video’

It wants to take part in a highly crowded space

Photo credit: KrASIA

Qutoutiao, which has both Alibaba and Tencent as its investors and went public in 2018, is a content aggregation app most known as a source for browsing articles, although it also offers other formats, such as video.

It now wants to grow the amount of video in its content mix. On Wedesday, the firm announced a plan involving multi-channel networks (MCN), which are agencies that help video makers navigate and profit across various social media channels and content platforms.

Qutoutiao, which means “fun headlines” in Chinese, aggregates articles and short videos from professional media and freelancers. As part of the new plan for video, each month, it plans to support 100 MCNs with user traffic and other measures such as one-on-one assistance and brand exposure.

To qualify for Qutoutiao’s program, MCNS need to manage or own at least five short video accounts and have published at least 30 short videos in the last month, with 70% of which have to be original and copyrighted material.

This is in line with the company’s plan to “improve the breadth and quality of short videos on our platform, given videos’ increasing popularity among our users,” which had been disclosed in a public offering prospectus in April.

In May, the chairman of Qutoutiao Tan Siliang disclosed that the firm has been testing its own new short video app for which initial results were “promising.”

All these recent moves mean that Qutoutiao is headed for direct competition with short video app Douyin, TikTok’s equivalent in the Chinese mainland, and Kuaishou. Douyin has an already mature strategy when it comes to leveraging MCNs to increase content and profits, while Kuaishou is catching up.