Tudou Bets Mobile Video Coding Will Become Standard

The video sharing site Tudou, based in China, was indispensable when I decided to catch up on the first three years of Mad Men, marathon-style, before the current season began. Soon consumers will be able to watch Tudou–which has hot shows and movies–on their mobiles. It’s another reality check for video content owners who still …   Read More

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The video sharing site Tudou, based in China, was indispensable when I decided to catch up on the first three years of Mad Men, marathon-style, before the current season began. Soon consumers will be able to watch Tudou–which has hot shows and movies–on their mobiles. It’s another reality check for video content owners who still don’t want their property on mobiles.

Tudou today announced the beta phase of its mobile video technology using HTML5 and HTTP live streaming, which will allow consumer to access its more than 40 million videos. The core technology, “real time video trans-coding,” is in open beta for Symbian, Android, and Windows Mobile, and in closed beta for iPhone and iPad. Videos being requested will load inside a new browser-based player instead of generating another player app, which usually takes more time on mobile devices.

Gary Wang, Tudou Founder and CEO, said in a release that his company believes that HTML5 video rendering will become the next major protocol delivering video content across multiple platforms–computers, mobile phones, and various portable devices. In other words, videos are going to go mobile whether content owners want them to or not.

I’ve discussed the folly of preventing official videos of popular content like TV show episodes from being played on phones. The benefits to content owners are the same as when they allow online streaming, including: Promoting the brand, engaging with the consumer where and when the consumer chooses, and building excitement for future revenue-generating products like DVDs and exclusive TV broadcasts (with high-priced commercial time).

Sure, owners can fight sharing sites–and can usually win, at least with U.S.-based sites like YouTube–to force them to take down certain content. But it’s a losing battle, considering all the sharing sites out there, which like Tudou are becoming accessible on mobiles. Better to give consumers want they want–and then leverage the heck out of it.

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