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Search engine giant in video venture

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New video website announced

The largest search engine in China is launching an ad-funded video website, it has been announced.

Baidu, which accounts for about three quarters of all searches in the country, is setting up an independent company to provide licensed video content to Chinese web users. It is believed that Providence Equity Partners, an investor in US online video channel Hulu, is backing the project. The website will rely on advertising for its revenues, although precise details have yet to emerge.

TV and films set for online video portal

Like Hulu, the new video portal will specialise in copyrighted content, including TV shows, films, sports games and animations. This sets it apart from other Chinese sites such as Youku and Tudou, which mix professional and user-generated clips. YouTube, the world’s largest video portal, is currently banned in China.

Yu Gong, chief executive officer of the new company, said the venture was a response to “increasing demand for high-quality video content on our search platform”. He added: “Online video is a rapidly growing sector in China and I believe Baidu’s search platform will provide a solid foundation for the new company to address the increasing demand for premium content.”

On Hulu
, US customers can watch full length films and TV shows from ABC, Fox and NBC. These networks are joint partners in the two-year-old project, which is backed by £62.5 million worth of funding from Providence Equity Partners. Each free clip comes with targeted ads that cannot be skipped. Some Hulu ads are even displayed with a ‘like/dislike button’, enabling viewers to provide instant feedback to advertisers.

Written by Richard Frost

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