Toodou.com: Digital entertainment from and for China
Marc van der Chijs, co-founder Toodou.com
In October 2004 the idea was born to set up a Chinese-language
where users could easily publish and download their personal audio
files. This site, Toodou.com, went live in April this year and
popular very quickly, because of its ease of use and wide variety
Currently the site has about 100,000 registered users,
with a growth rate of about 10% per week. The core digital entertainment
services that Toodou.com offers are video and audio files that
can be streamed or downloaded automatically to a computer or personal
entertainment system (iPod, mobile phone etc.).
It offers users a huge variety of different self-made programs,
from short documentaries to music videos, and from cooking lessons
to people showing their city. People can submit their files and
watch programs for free. It can be compared to time-shifted TV
or radio: you can listen or watch whenever you want not only at
home, but everywhere you go. Next month Toodou.com will start
offering a service to directly stream files to mobile phones.
Infrastructure for digital entertainment.
In order for the digital entertainment industry to really take
China a good infrastructure is essential. High-speed digital networks
prerequisite for this, especially in the big cities where most
Internet access. This can be done either by a network of cables
offering wireless web access all over the city. The government
could do this
themselves or give incentives to corporations to offer this. Important
that the infrastructure will be cheap enough to use for the average
meaning low or no user fees.
Speed is important for content that is streamed through the worldwide
The fact that over half the Chinese Internet population now has
broadband is a big opportunity. It allows the delivery of higher-quality
content with less disruption. The high bandwidth will be an incentive
the entertainment industry in China to further develop applications
require high-speed connections.
In order to get a faster development of the digital entertainment
it is important that China uses the same standards as the rest
of the world.
Developing own standards that may work better, may actually hinder
development: The past has learned us that it should not be assumed
rest of the world will follow once a new, better standard has
Nationwide Internet access
Although over 100 million people in China have Internet access,
still less than 10% of China's population. Out of these 100 million
more than 50 million have at least a college or university degree.
these 100 million users are young people living in the big cities
on China's east coast. This means that the distribution of users
is very skewed, and that digital entertainment cannot reach a
large part of the population. This gap between young vs. old and
educated vs. not educated is a challenge that the government could
possibly do something about. Just like getting every town and
village TV and radio access several years ago, this time the goal
can be to get the internet to the countryside. With easy-to-use
computers and online teach-the-teacher programs this might be
Toodou.com sees it as its goal to make it easier for Chinese
users to find the content and information they are looking for,
and to share their films and other programs with the outside world.
We think this will help the digital entertainment consumption
grow. Eventually we foresee a merger of TV, radio, and mobile
phones with digital internet content. Through our site we hope
to facilitate this development and prepare China for a digital
(October 12, 2005)