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iQiyi’s prowess in Asian and Chinese content and advertising

iQiyi’s prowess in Asian and Chinese content and advertising

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Last year, streaming service iQiyi International made headlines when it launched its new international headquarters in Singapore as a sign of investment into the Southeast Asia market.

iQiyi is the top placed streaming platform when it comes to market share in the VOD service market in China, according to Quest Mobile. It is also the first streaming service in China to surpass 100 million paid members in June 2019.

According to iQiyi’s financials as of June 30 2021, iQiyi has reached over 106.2 million VIP users worldwide. For the year of 2020, iQiyi’s average mobile MAUs were 479.8 million and its average mobile DAUs were 115.6 million. On average, its users spent 8.4 billion hours per month watching video content on our platform through all devices. Meanwhile, Reuters also reported that iQiyi’s Southeast Asia daily active users have grown 12x in 2020, and its overall MAU of iQiyi’s overseas market in the first quarter of 2021 increased by 77% compared to the previous quarter.

For iQiyi, its dedication to the Southeast Asia market gives it a leg-up on its competitors. Knowing the importance of localisation, the Chinese streaming giant which first started its operations in 2010, has also made its presence felt across the region with dedicated teams in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Bullish on its growth and the quality of its content, outside of Asia, iQiyi has also established teams in North America and the Middle East.

Leading content driving up viewership

One key factor that has been driving up iQiyi’s growth internationally is its suite of content in numerous languages from Korean to Japanese and English and Chinese. Most notably today, there is a rise in demand for Chinese content, otherwise known as C-wave.

According to iQiyi’s pilot C-Drama Wave Survey conducted across 26 countries with more than 5,200 respondents, 76% of the respondents surveyed said they had sampled C-entertainment, and 43% watched the content on streaming platforms. One in two of those surveyed also said they enjoyed watching C-dramas and would recommend C-dramas they like to others. In particular, respondents in Thailand (80%), Singapore (70%) and Malaysia (71%) were most likely to enjoy C-Drama.

“Appetite for Chinese language content is growing steadily worldwide and iQiyi is paving the path forward. We are truly encouraged by the number of global users who want and are willing to watch Chinese dramas,” Kuek Yu-Chuang, iQiyi’s Vice President of International Business said, explaining the trend.

“As Chinese content represents a cutting-edge entertainment trend, I’m thrilled to share that our SWEET ON collection, launched in May 2021, saw an encouraging viewership of over 59 million views globally. iQiyi is committed to offering our fans worldwide the best-in-class Chinese language entertainment.”

Last year its romance series Love is Sweet was the number one drama in Southeast Asia across all verticals, bringing in double the number of users for iQiyi in the week of launch.

With its big plans to be part of every household in Southeast Asia, and resonate to an even greater level with Asian consumers, iQiyi has also started to explore working with production companies in the region and has, in fact, released its first Southeast Asian original show, The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang, in August 2021. Meanwhile, last month iQiyi also unveiled its latest slate of content Southeast Asia content including two Philippines Originals along with new exclusive content from Thailand and Malaysia. The streamer locked arms with ABS-CBN, one of Philippine’s leading media and entertainment companies, to produce two original Filipino series for the global audience. The shows will star top Filipino talents in titles Saying Goodbye and Hello, Heart. Meanwhile, to please the appetite of its Thai audience, iQiyi also launched exclusive new content Only You I Need, a melodrama story of love and betrayal between a handsome influencer and his beautiful wife. It also launched Gen Y The Series 2 which centers around the love of Gen Y couples. To build up its library of Malay content for audiences in Singapore and Malaysia, iQiyi also launched Gerak Khas Undercover, an action police procedural television series and family focused series Cukup Derita Itu Part 2.

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iQiyi prides itself on having a strong list of original and exclusively licensed content that cuts across its top premium dramas, movies, shows and anime from China Mainland and across Asia. Noting the power of K-drama and the attraction its audiences has for K-drama content, the streaming giant announced several new titles such as Crazy Love, Us At One Point, My Oppa Is An Idol and Weekday Wife. iQiyi original K-series Jirisan also took centre stage internationally on 13th October, in a global press conference that featured writer Kim Eun-hee, director of photography Choi Sang-mook, together with stars Gianna Jun, Ju Ji-hoon, Oh Jung-se and Cho Han-Cheul.  iQiyi also teased audiences with an exclusive glimpse of the highly anticipated iQiyi x Studio Dragon co-productions Bad and Crazy and Shooting Stars. All of these initiatives saw the company bring to its audience more than one new drama daily with over 500 new-to-service content which equated to over 7000 hours of premium entertainment.

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Innovative and creative ad buys and formats

With a large proportion of its highly engaged audience being women aged 19 to 35, the service offers drama, anime, variety shows and movies subtitled in different languages to viewers worldwide via and the iQiyi international app. The content can also be accessed across mobile phones, tablets, PC and even TV for the ease of its viewers.

While the premium OTT space is definitely one which is heating up with a myriad of players trying to enter the scene, what makes iQiyi stand out is its heavy investment in both technology and original productions.  

Keeping its pulse on the needs of clients and audiences, on the advertising front, the 11-year-old company offers its audiences VIP subscription and ad-supported services to access premium TV.

Offering both standard and native-like advertisements throughout the user journey, iQiyi aims to ensure its brand partners, who wish to achieve high impact brand awareness, are able to do so with ad units such as the Opening Splash Ad or its In-Stream Video Pre/Mid Rolls.

Given ads will not be skipped by users; the platform is able to promise higher playback completion rates, and better dissemination integrity. Meanwhile, for brands who do not wish to disrupt audiences’ viewing experiences, they can ensure effective reach via in-feed ads or paused ads.

Given the majority of the content on iQiyi’s platform is licensed and original content, rather than user-generated content, brand partners can rest easy when it comes to brand safety or dissociation from content they don’t want their brands exposed to.  This is also made possible through its title targeting offerings, where partners are able to select content that most resonates with their brand values.

Advertisers are able to partner the brand for content marketing and take advantage of its exclusive content and high quality self-produced content, which then leads to higher brand affinity. Marketers can customise their solutions with diverse co-operation methods leading to different types of creative advertising formats with increased visibility and impact of advertising.

There are three main solutions iQiyi offers to its clients to target its audiences:
1. Its Standard Advertising consists of: An opening splash ad, a masthead ad, in-stream video ad (with call-to-action), paused ad and in-stream creative overlay.
2. Its Content Advertising consists of: A title sponsorship, drama/content bundling, customised ad and solutions.
3. Its Joint Business Partnerships consist of: Sponsorship entitlements, customised entitlements, advertising entitlements, along with marketing benefits.

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Given iQiyi’s expertise in technology and audience segmentation, advertisers are presented with more targeted options as opposed to traditional TV. Moreover, its click-ability feature for brand marketers capitalises on the growing shoppertainment phenomenon that enables direct advertising conversion.

Compared with traditional TV, OTT advertising on iQiyi’s platform allows for a higher level of measurement with detailed and accurate monitoring. Advertisers are able to more deeply understand users’ behaviour patterns and preferences, and make use of the data to their advantage.

This article was created in collaboration with iQiyi International.

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