Youku goes mainstream

China's leading video portal Youku is going "mainstream," in a bid to tap a great deal more of China's growing online advertising market.

The video site has partnered with 268 TV networks across China to launch an online news platform called Youku News Channel. The platform will broadcast national headlines featuring streaming video content provided by the media companies such as Beijing Television, Shanghai Media Group and Xinhua News Agency, and user-generated video news. CCTV is not participating in the launch.

Various advertising formats have been made available for marketers, according to Youku's spokesman Steven Lin.

Lin added the concept is similar to CNN's iReport where users are encouraged to submit and share news footage. The group estimates that more marketers will shift to online advertising as online TV trend eats into the traditional TV model.

"Our nationwide TV partner network and reputation for time sensitive video content has make Youku the online video platform of choice in this area," Victor Koo, founder and CEO of Youku, said.

To announce the partnership, Youku and its media partners have produced a 30-minute TV program slugged as Youku Time to inform public about the news channel. Some offline marketing campaigns and events organised by Youku's marketing team will roll out in Beijing and Shanghai over the next few months.