Fri, Jun 30, 2017 - Page 11 News List

IQiyi laments Taiwan’s record on video piracy

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Beijing-based iQiyi Science & Technology Co (愛奇藝), China’s largest video-on-demand provider, yesterday called on the government to step up efforts to fight piracy and increase public awareness of the issue.

“Good content is worth paying for, but it is hard to cultivate such a concept in Taiwan,” iQiyi senior vice president Young Ming (楊鳴), who also serves as general manager of iQiyi’s Taiwan branch, told a media forum in Taipei. “I think the piracy here is worse than in China these days.”

The number of iQiyi’s paid members in Taiwan has been climbing since it entered the local market in the fourth quarter of 2015, but membership growth is softer than iQiyi’s estimate, Young said, attributing the numbers to the government’s lack of effort to prevent unauthorized access of its system.

He declined to disclose the company’s membership figures in Taiwan.

In China, authorities have stepped up efforts to fight piracy over the past two years, Young said, adding that the move has helped increase demand for paid services there.

In addition to iQiyi, Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊), Letv.com (樂視網) and Youku Tudou Inc (優酷土豆) also saw growth in paid membership due to Chinese government action, Young said.

From 2011 to 2015, iQiyi saw its advertising revenue grow much faster than from paid memberships, but sales contributions from memberships rose significantly last year and this year, he said.

“For the first time, we expected this year to see the revenue contribution from paid memberships reach the same level as from advertising,” Young said.

Young said that only when people are willing to pay for content would over-the-top (OTT) suppliers like iQiyi invest in good content and build a healthy industry.

However, it is equally important for companies to improve technology to prevent content from being accessed, downloaded and broadcast illegally, he said.

More than 3,000 of iQiyi’s 6,000 employees are engineers working on improving user experience and upgrading the firm’s technology, he said.

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