ByteDance’s Xigua Video pivots to ‘middle video,’ incentivizing creators with USD 300 million

Written by Wency Chen Published on 

Douyin will roll out landscape mode soon and mobile editing tool Jianying will have a PC version.

Xigua Video, the platform developed by TikTok owner ByteDance, sets its sights on the so-called “middle video,” promising to spend at least RMB 2 billion (USD 300 million) to incentivize creators in the next year, as Chinese video platforms are battling for audiences with more original and exclusive content, Xigua Video’s president Ren Lifeng announced on Tuesday at a company event.

The newly-minted concept “middle video” is barely a brand new thing. As Ren puts it, middle videos are those videos that are longer than a minute but not exceeding 30 minutes, mainly in landscape mode and professionally generated content (PGC). A majority of videos on the Chinese video-sharing platform Bilibili (NASDAQ: BILI) and Youtube fall under this category.

Despite also hosting movies, documentary dramas, and short videos, Xigua’s positioning differentiates itself from short-video apps like Douyin and Kuaishou, as well as Netflix followers including Tencent Video, iQiyi (NASDAQ: IQ), Youku, and Mango TV.

“Products like Douyin used to focus on user-generated content (UGC) which are usually ‘short, direct, and quick,’ valuing the width and scope,” said Ren at the conference. “However, in-depth and professional content fits more into the format of middle videos.”

According to Xigua’s estimate, the total duration of Chinese viewers watching middle videos every day has exceeded half of the duration of short videos and is twice as long as that of long videos. Following the trend, the two most-used short video apps Douyin and Kuaishou have both raised the time limit caps from one minute to welcome more middle videos.

Xigua Video and Douyin will be better interconnected, in terms of sharing content and search function, Ren said. The landscape mode will arrive on Douyin and mobile video editing tool Jianying will have a PC version. According to Chinese research firm QuestMobile, Xigua Video has 131 million monthly active users (MAUs) as of June.


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