Q&A with Kinetic ONE: Video Content Marketing Opportunities in China

The potential for online video in China is huge. Baidu is reportedly buying PPS TV, a Chinese web video firm for around $400 million, according to a Reuters report.

China is estimated to have 372 million online video viewers at the end of last year; that figure is larger than the entire U.S. population. It also represents almost 66 percent of total Internet users in China, an increase of more than 46.5 million netizens compared to the previous year. (Source: CNNIC 2013)

While video advertising such as pre-roll ad buys is common in the country, one start-up has focused on creating a social video platform that builds communities around branded content. Kinetic ONE works closely with brands to create and publish video content to earn engagement from targeted audience segments from action sports, indie music to fine wine through social communities.

sioksiok-150x150Siok Siok Tan, founder and CEO of Kinetic ONE explains why brands and agencies should start creating and sharing their stories using online videos to earn engagement from brand advocates in China.

Excerpts of the interview below:

ClickZ:How would you describe what you do?

Siok Siok Tan: Interestingly, the way people describe what we do changes as the digital marketing trends shift. “Social video marketing,” “native advertising,” and “video content marketing” are all terms that can fit us. What is more important is the impact of what we do, namely, targeted delivery, high engagement, and wide reach for entertaining branded content.

CZ:What are the opportunities for this type of video storytelling in China?

ST:The opportunities for video story telling in China are huge and largely untapped. Traditional TV programming in China is focused on mass appeal and safe storytelling formulas. Video storytelling on the web allows for much greater risk taking. The impact of such storytelling is also magnified by the emergence of a generation of digital natives hungry for innovative programming.

CZ:What are the challenges in getting marketers to adopt this form of web video production?

ST: The key challenges for adoption is two-fold: legacy and mindset. Although many have come round to acknowledging the importance of web video marketing, the marketing and advertising industry is still reluctant to cannibalize a legacy business that is built largely around media buying for the 30-second television commercial.

Hence, the bulk of the digital video budget is still spent on the purchase of pre-roll and banner ads on video sharing sites instead of the branded web video series. The fragmented social media environment in China also makes the measurement of the impact of online video and social media engagement a complex endeavor.

The good news is that the demand is ripening for great branded video content that generates high social media engagement. The age of “social video” has definitely arrived.

CZ:Could you give a recent example in China?

ST:Over the past three years, we have syndicated more than 200 videos under the Creators Project, a series produced by Intel and Vice, with the intent of branding Intel as a cool, creative supporter of innovative technology. The program was distributed on our youth-oriented video channel, Niurenku, earning close to 130 million views and rising to become the number one show on Youku Fashion channel during the campaign period.

CZ:What is the estimated cost of video marketing?

ST:More and more marketers are becoming interested in deploying video in their marketing campaigns. Budgets for such campaigns in China can start with as little as U.S.$30,000 and scale up to half a million U.S. dollars and more. The important thing to remember is that web native video storytelling is not about the “hard sell.” Instead it is about building familiarity, likability, and trust over time using entertaining content.

We would advocate against the “one hit wonder” mindset that is commonly associated with the “viral video” phenomenon. Repetition, scalability, and persistence are the true keys to success. This requires consistent investment of time and budget but the brand equity built in such a way makes the effort more than worthwhile.

CZ:How can marketers measure effectiveness for this type of video campaigns?

ST:Brand marketers can use the video views as the primary measure, with social media engagement metrics such as shares, comments, and likes as a secondary metric for measuring effectiveness.

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