Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Announcing The Information Courses: Sign up for our Micromobility 101 course, a 15-day guided primer on dockless e-scooters, bikes, and more.

Read this article for free.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Asia Entertainment

Tencent and Rivals Learn How to Charge for Online Video

When Wang Bowen fell in love with an “American Idol”–style reality show on a Chinese video site, he wanted to do everything to support his favorite contestant, a young woman with short hair and big round glasses. Paying subscribers of the site, owned by internet giant Tencent, could cast far more votes for contestants than non-paying users. So Mr. Wang happily signed up for a subscription.

Mr. Wang, a 26-year-old fintech startup cofounder in Shenzhen, is part of a growing trend in China. In a country long plagued by rampant piracy and counterfeits, millions of young consumers are starting to pay for online content services such as Tencent Video, Baidu-backed iQiyi and Alibaba’s Youku—each a local mix of Netflix and YouTube-like offerings. It’s a turnabout from the situation five years ago, when most Chinese streaming services had no choice but to offer their licensed content free.

What Is The Information?

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

We broke it first. Receive original reporting you won't read anywhere else from the largest newsroom in tech.

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Get access to our reporters and other top executives with monthly deep-dive calls into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, get access to more than a dozen events yearly, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

Access the best reporting on the tech industry read by tens of thousands of global executives.

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Share with your team

Subscribers can unlock any article and share it with friends and co-workers through a special share link.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles


MGM Looks for Epix Partner, Two Years After Buying Channel for $1 Billion

By Jessica Toonkel


Streaming Video’s New Math

By Martin Peers


Skinny Bundles Hit Their Weight Limit

By Tom Dotan and Martin Peers

Beijing has stepped up its anti-piracy measures, passing new laws and removing pirated content online while punishing businesses and individuals involved in the distribution.