Tudou

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Tudou
Type Private, VC-Funded
Founded February 15, 2005
Headquarters Shanghai, China File:Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg
Key people Gary Wang, CEO
Grace Wang, CFO
Michael Zhao, CTO
Sarah Jiang, CCO
Deng Wei, VP
Evelyn Wang, VP
Anita Huang, VP
Slogan "Everyone is the Director of Life"
Website www.tudou.com
Alexa rank #60
Type of site Video Sharing
Registration Optional
(required to upload)
Available in Simplified Chinese
Launched February 15, 2005
Current status Active

Tudou (simplified Chinese: 土豆网traditional Chinese: 土豆網pinyin: Tǔdòu Wǎng) is one of the largest video sharing websites in China, where users can upload, view and share video clips. Tudou went live on April 15, 2005 and by September 2007, served over 55 million videos each day.[1]

Tudou states they are one of the world's largest bandwidth users, moving more than 1 Petabyte per day to 7 million users. YouTube does serve a larger number of videos per day, but since the average Tudou video is longer in duration, the total amount of minutes of video being streamed daily from Tudou is significantly larger - about 15 billion minutes vs. 3 billion for YouTube.[1]

Tudou is becoming popular with users in the Western World because it allows the viewer to watch entire episodes of television shows and movies, rather than being restricted to short 10 minute clips as with YouTube.

The Shanghai-based service uses Adobe Flash technology to publish more than 20,000 new videos each day, including amateur content such as videoblogging and original videos, movie and TV clips, and music videos. Unregistered users can watch videos on the site, while registered users are permitted to upload an unlimited number of videos, using on-line and Windows-based upload tools.[2]

History

Tudou was founded by Gary Wang and Dutchman Marc van der Chijs, whom Wang met while at Bertelsmann Media Group in China. The name Tudou is Chinese Pinyin (Romanized Chinese) for Potato. It was previously known as Toodou.com, and changed its domain name to Tudou.com in August 2006 when that domain became available. According to CEO Wang, the name comes from the English idiom "couch potato." He stated that his goal was to move couch potatoes from the television screen to the computer screen.[3]

Prior to Tudou, Wang lived in the United States and returned to China to work for multi-national companies. Tudou was originally conceptualized as a video blogging company and the site launched on April 15, 2005, in its current format, several months before YouTube.

Like many technology startups, Tudou was started on a shoestring with a raw technology team, practically in a garage. It was initially self-financed at about $100,000, then in 2005 raised a $500,000 seed round. Its first major funding round was in 2006 for $8.5 million from IDG China, GGV Capital (formerly Granite Global Ventures), and JAFCO Asia. Tudou's second funding was in early 2007 for $19 million and was led by Boston-based General Catalyst Partners and Shanghai-based Capital Today, with other existing investors participating.[1] Its most recent funding was on April 28, 2008, for $57 million from existing investors IDG Technology Venture Investment (IDGVC), Granite Global Ventures and General Catalyst Partners, and also included a member of the Rockefeller family[4]

Rapid Growth

During the summer of 2007, Nielsen/NetRatings reported that Tudou was one of the fastest growing websites on the Web, growing from 131 to 360 million video clips per week in just three months. According to a July 16, 2007, survey, 55 million video clips are viewed daily on Tudou, with an additional 20,000 new videos uploaded every 24 hours.[5] Neilsen's measurements indicate the website averages nearly 40 million visitors per month.[6]

According to Chinese tracking service iResearch, as of the mid-2007, Tudou has over 50% of the Chinese online video market.[7]. iResearch reported Tudou's monthly unique visitor reached 85 million as of February, 2009.

Heidou (HD Tudou)

On September 18, 2008, Tudou began trial runs of hd.tudou.com [8], also known as "Heidou" (literally meaning "black bean" in Chinese), intended to be a High-definition online video channel offering licensed commercial programs in high definition format, viewable free of charge and without copyright issues [9]. As the content is commercial, revenue will be gained through the use of video and image advertisements [10].

Media Recognition

Tudou has been covered in both the Chinese and Western press, including in the New York Times,[11] Business Week,[12] South China Morning Post,[13] Dow Jones MarketWatch,[14] and others.

Funding

Tudou completed its financial fund series A to D between year 2005 to 2008 in November 2005, April 2006, April 2007, and April 2008 respectively. A total of US$85 millions were raised from a roster of venture capital organizations such as IDG Ventures China, Jafco Asia, GGV Capital, General Catalyst Partners, Capital Today, KTB, JAIC, Cyber Agent, Venrock, and Crescent Point.

Recent events

In July 2007, Tudou introduced one of the world's first large-scale video advertising systems for video sites, several months ahead of YouTube.[7] In late September 2007, Intel and Tudou announced a partnership to explore wireless video sharing technologies and video applications for mobile devices. Tudou also agreed to increase its use of Intel CPUs in its rapidly growing video encoder server farms. Intel will also promote its products through the Tudou advertising system.[15]

In December 2007, Tudou introduced videos in the H.264 format, providing higher quality and standards-based video.[16]

In the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake on May 12, the service of the website was suspended until May 21 due to the period of national mourning.

On September 10, 2008, Tudou received its license[17] from SARFT.

Copyright & Video Review

Copyright

A significant portion of Tudou's content is not user-generated, i.e., it comes from commercial sources. The company says that the Chinese often go to Tudou for TV-like saq-media, instead of using their televisions. Nevertheless, Tudou has come under criticism for its disregard of international copyright standards. Countless American and European television shows and movies can be found on Tudou without the permission of the copyright owners in what amounts to internet piracy. In May 2008, the Chinese government found the company guilty of copyright infringement and fined it RMB 50,000 which is not much more than EUR 5,000 or $7,000.[18]

Video Review

Tudou's in-house reviewers watch, approve, and categorize all uploaded videos. The reviewers screen for inappropriate content such as pornography and categorize / tag each video.[19]

Technical notes

Video format

Tudou's video playback technology is based on Macromedia's Flash Player. This technology allows the site to display videos with quality comparable to more established video playback technologies (such as Windows Media Player, QuickTime and RealPlayer) that generally require the user to download and install a web browser plugin in order to view video. Flash also requires a plug-in, but the Flash 7 plug-in is generally considered to be present on approximately 90% of online computers.[20] The video can also be played back with gnash or VLC. It has pixel dimensions of 320 by 240 (4:3) or 352 by 264 (16:9), depending on the aspect ratio of the source video. Videos run at 25 frames per second with a maximum data rate of 300kbit/s.

Tudou accepts uploaded videos in a variety of formats, including .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, MPEG and .MP4.[2]

Video can be seen in windowed mode or full screen mode; it is possible to switch the mode during the viewing of any video without reloading it because of the full-screen function of Adobe Systems Flash Player 9.

Bandwidth

Tudou reports that it's one of the world's largest bandwidth users, sending over 1PB (Petabyte) of video files per day, which is nearly 100Gbit/s of sustained traffic. The company uses a variety of proprietary and commercial content distribution networks (CDNs), such as ChinaCache to distribute videos around China.[21]

The domain tudou.com attracted almost 10 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com survey.

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 " Tudou now bigger than Youtube?" Shanghaiist, October 11, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Tudou Website"
  3. Tudou.com Uploaders to Share Ad Revenue, "Sina News" July 4, 2007.
  4. Chinese Video Site Tudou Receives Another Big Round of $57 Million
  5. "Targeting China’s Younger Generation" CScout April 24, 2007
  6. "From 131 Million to 360 Million - Tudou.com Triples Weekly Clip View in just Three Months". Nielsen NetRatings Press ReleaseJuly 8, 2007
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Original Video Content Site Tudou.com Launches Video Advertising Platform" American Venture Magazine. July 16, 2007.
  8. [topic%3Delecfun&searchID=122034&datetime=[t-minus%3D7]&hdlaction=story&storyid=[storyid=20080919670.2_0cfb0001bbad6ef6]&rtcrdata=on&epname=CONSULT& Tudou.com Kicks off High-definition Channel]
  9. Tudou.com Releases Open Beta Version Of High-Definition Channel
  10. Tudou: HD Ad Platform Released Amid Employee Shuffle
  11. "China Finds its Voice". New York Times October 21, 2005.
  12. "Calling Chinese Couch Potatoes" Business Week. January 23, 2006.
  13. "Tudou Tops China's Video Sharing Market"., South China Morning Post October 17, 2006.
  14. "Web 2.0 in China: Buy or build?" Dow Jones Market Watch. December 03, 2006.
  15. "Intel Sets Out to Work with Tudou to Further Video Tech" XinHua News. September 21, 2007.
  16. "Tudou Site h.264 Announcement" Tudou Site. December 2007.
  17. "Marc van der Chijs' Shanghaied Weblog: Tudou gets SARFT license". Marc.cn. September 10, 2008. http://www.marc.cn/2008/09/tudou-gets-sarft-license.html. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  18. http://www.chinatechnews.com/2008/05/12/6729-tudoucom-fined-for-copyright-violation-in-china
  19. "Testing China's Web Tolerance" Business Week. January 23, 2006.
  20. "Adobe Flash Player Version Penetration" "Adobe Website"
  21. "A Big Funding Round For Chinese Web 2.0 Arms Dealer ChinaCache" "BillsDue" April 26, 2007

External links

  • Viewers using Internet Explorer are able to directly download videos from Tudou by clicking the download button underneath any video window, though you will need to install their official download manager, iTudou. Other download managers, such as Orbit Downloader or Moyea FLV Downloader allow the video to be downloaded as an FLV file, by simply copying the URL address of the video page and pasting it into the download task dialog box. There's an alternative way to get the already downloaded Flash Video by going to the video page, letting the video fully load, minimize and then going to the web browser's Temporary Internet Files folder, searching for the designated FLV file. It only works if the storing of temporary internet files is enabled.
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