The Future Of Chinese Media
前上海文广新闻传媒总裁，华人文化基金会（CMC）的创立者黎瑞刚，在本周上海举行的亚洲消费类电子展上与Brent Weinstein共同进行了一次“炉边谈话”, 谈话的主题是中国的媒体产业。对于此类的话题， 黎瑞刚颇有发言权， 在他任职期间，上海文广传媒从数以千计的地区媒体集团成长为中国第二大传媒集团，并且成为中国首个网络电视运营商。
黎瑞刚对OTT业务（互联网视频服务）和智能电视的发展深信不疑。尽管目前没有完全开放， 而且转型也正在运行当中，他仍然预言未来智能电视将在中国家庭中普及， 他预想了两种可能出现的场景，一种是由生产商来生产智能电视，但是设计则是开源的，另一种则是生产商来根据量身定制要求来设计硬件，软件则由内容决定。
这样一来，移动内容就有了空间，类似腾讯和微信那样的平台在这里发挥了重要的作用，特别是希望创造一种类似于youtube的模式。黎瑞刚认为，对于这个产业来说， 成功的标准在于这种运营模式是否有足够的流量， 而这一点则取决于优质的内容购买。“如果要生存， 则必须购买，想节约的话， 则会失去浏览量。”腾讯充分意识到这一点，于是买断了NBA五年的独家转播权。
然而，黎瑞刚表示，产业的未来取决于受众喜爱的内容， 而不是NBA本身。这也是为什么中国大力投资草根制作人。如果就货币化而言，黎瑞刚认为微信支付带来的便利将因为内容需求而普及化，特别是在联通欠发达地区。“在未来， 很难说是内容还是广告驱动产业， 他说，这并无本质区别。”
Li Ruigang, former president of the state-owned Shanghai Media Group and founder of CMC, sat down with Brent Weinstein for a ‘fireside chat’ at this week’s inaugural CES Asia in Shanghai to discuss the state of China’s media industry. Li is rather well-placed to pontificate on such matters; during his tenure at the SMG, it grew from one of thousands of local media operations to the second largest media organisation in China and also became the first IPTV network in the country.
So how do media companies thrive in a world where consumer tastes are informed and rapidly influenced by technology which itself is evolving at breakneck pace? Diversification is key, says Li. For example, SMG has branched out into numerous content categories and distribution channels: “Even those media groups still owned by government are getting bigger and bigger and are experimenting with new things.” Li is a firm believer in Over-the-Top (OTT) ecosystems being developed for the future and sees smart TVs as a huge opportunity. While they are not yet an open portal, and that shift is “still on-going,” he predicts a time will come when there is a smart TV in every home in China. He envisions two potential scenarios; one where smart TVs are produced by a manufacturer and designed to be open source, or a ‘combination model’ where the manufacturers design hardware which is tailored to an audience, and software which tailors content.
And then there is the mobile content space. Platforms like TenCent and WeChat have been playing a significant role here, especially when it comes to creating a YouTube-inspired model. According to Li, the only metric for success that really matters in this business model is earning the highest traffic, and this usually requires buying premium content. “If you want to survive you have to buy,” he says. “If you want to save money you lose traffic.” TenCent is a company fully aware of this, having recently bought exclusive NBA rights for the next five years. However, it is user generated content which is the future of the industry, says Li, not the NBA, which is why China is investing in grassroots creators. And as far as monetization is concerned, Li believes the convenience of micro-billing will catch on due to the emerging demand for quality content, especially in low connectivity areas. “In the future you cannot really define whether it is content business or advertising business,” he says, “it is just work.”