Cheetah Data: Long-form vlogging is China’s next content trend

The research arm of Cheetah Mobile thinks that China’s short video content trend is close to reaching its apex. And the replacement? Long-form video blogging.
Chinese User Behavior: Short Video Platform Penetration Rates

The data

The guys over at Cheetah Data – the research arm of Cheetah Mobile – think that China’s short video content trend is nearing its apex.

What comes next? Long-form video blogging.

Why it matters

1. Penetration rates for short video platforms are leveling off

The short video explosion has been driven by the meteoric success of apps like Douyin 抖音 and Kuaishou 快手, platforms based around user-generated clips of hyper-concentrated hilarity designed to capture eyeballs: hot chicks doing adorable dance numbers, squirrels stuffing entire peanut plants in their cheeks, practical jokes gone terribly right, that kind of stuff. Street side, the trend shows no visible signs of slowing down, but Cheetah’s stats tell a slightly different story.

Chinese User Behavior: Short Video Platform Penetration Rates

The red line is the penetration rate for Douyin, which saw rapid growth at the beginning of 2018 but plateaued in June. The yellow is Kuaishou, whose penetration rate has been steady at around 13% for all of 2018.

2. Major video platforms are moving towards longer-form content

For example:

  • In November, Tencent released vlogging app Yoo Video
  • In September, Jinri Toutiao, one of China’s most popular news apps, recently partnered with actress and musician Nana Ou-yang to produce vlog content
  • Weibo is moving in the same direction, making vlog content partnerships with KOLs
  • Renren video is actively pushing vlog content to users
3. An uptick in searches for “vlog” over the last 2 weeks

Whomp, there it is:

Chinese User Behavior: Searches for Vlog Rising

Digging a Little Deeper

Actually, saying that vlogs will replace short videos is a slight misrepresentation of Cheetah’s point. The article draws an apples-and-oranges distinction between the two content mediums, pointing out differences in length, type of content and emotional purpose served.

Short Videos Vlogs
Length 1 minute or less 5-10 minutes
Type of Content Humor and Grandstanding Narrative diaries / exploring thoughts and opinions
Emotion Instant gratification Vicarious experience
Why now?

Cheetah’s got a lot to say about why this is happening now, but the short version is: YouTube popularized vlogging in the West, but China never had a YouTube. There isn’t a large-scale video platform that placed user-generated vlog content front-and-center in quite the same way. Most of China’s video platforms are primarily populated with commercial entertainment – TV shows and movies. “China doesn’t lack for vloggers,” says Cheetah, “It lacks a platform.”

Sounds like that won’t be a problem for long.

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