In April this year, I did a 6-part articles on the state of video development for
On 9/6/2007, Sohu started Sohu TV:
The link to Sohu TV is at:
Again, I am not able to capture the moving video in the screen capture. But the one being circled are the TV stations. If you click on one of them, you would get the following:
The left hand side has the TV stations, the middle is the TV program, and the right hand side is the schedule for the particular TV channels one is picking.
At this point, Sohu had signed up 49 TV stations. Most of these TV stations are also present for the similar service provided by Sina.
It seems to me that Sohu has more TV channels.
The good thing about these TV channels are that because they uses P2P technology, there are virtually no overhead.
Unlike these embedded video that requires lots of servers and bandwidths, P2P technology uses users’ PCs and phone lines.
For very little money, Sohu is getting a lot out of these TV channels. At this point, there is no ads present. It will be easy for Sina or Sohu to put some text ads on top or bottom of the video window. But to be real effective, Sina and Sohu had to figure out a way to take out the original TV ads and insert their own ads. (I am sure the TV stations will be fine with that as long as they got a cut of the revenue). But that is probably a year or two from now.
At this point, as far as the number of video products are concerned, I would say Sohu is now on par with Sina (if not more). But I am sure Sina is busying adding more contents, it will probably a two headed race.
Both of them have full function blogs. The blogs are anchored by a you-tube like service. The combination of blogs and you-tube videos give both Sina and Sohu a competitive advantage to
Sohu and Sina’s TV channels will take a large byte out of programs like PPstream or PPlive. If Sina and Sohu can keep on signing up more domestic TV channels (especially the big one), they will probably dominate the video aggregator business.
This development further confirmed my belief that both Sina and Sohu will start to mutate into a fundamentally different type of companies.
I can foresee that after the Olympics, both companies will mutate from a text based companies into a video based companies. It means the cost of entry will be so high, it will be extremely difficult for other competitor to get in.
As a video company, it will attract ads from more types of companies.
As they become the content providers, they will hold tremendous leverage in the upcoming 3G mobile phone contest. China Mobile might want to be a monopoly and kill off all the middle men, but it doesn’t generate contents.
Both Sina and Sohu had a lot of unpleasant experience in being a Wireless Value Added Service (WVAS) provider. It will be extremely difficult for WVAS players to survive, but as original content providers, and with the start of 3G in
In addition, by combining both the blog and you-tube like services, as well as other services such as photo album, music boxes, etc, both Sina and Sohu will probably starts to kill off all the blogs companies and you-tube companies in
These will eventually represents two new areas (blog and you-tube) of growing revenue sources.
As Sohu TV and Sina’s TV channels start to fill up, both will start to act like TV/Video aggregators. A user in
Finally, for the S and V channels for Sohu and SinaTV, these self-generating TV channels gives both Sohu and Sina the ability to generate TV program contents themselves. They are starting the movie and TV production studio. If some of the shows are successful, they might even be able to sell these shows to the traditional TV companies.
As both companies starts to mutate, it needs a grand entrance to show off all the new capabilities. What can be grander than the 2008 Beijing Olympics?
2008 will be a great year for both companies because of Beijing Olympics. But I think the Beijing Olympics will serves as the showcase for both companies. As more companies (through Olympics) start to realize that both Sina and Sohu had become truly multimedia companies, the real exponential growth will start in 2009.