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Much Ado About Tudou

Have you checked out, the Chinese video-sharing site? Yeah, yeah, the “Chinese YouTube.” Its name means “potato” in Mandarin – as in “couch potato,” according to the company’s boilerplate descriptions on press releases.

It’s been around since 2005, but is gaining steam. Currently, 40 million Chinese Internet users are watching more than 1.2 billion videos each month on Tudou (according to Nielsen NetRatings). And Tudou recently announced that it will also air ads –a future source of revenue.

What’s on Tudou? Yes, there are bootlegged episodes of TV shows such as Survivor or clips from movies such as Spider-Man -– which begs the question, how will American entertainment companies deal with this? At the same time, Tudou is a fun window into what Chinese youth are wearing, listening to, watching, posting online, and how they decorate their apartments and bedrooms. It’s potentially a trend-watching or market-research tool for, well, couch potatoes.

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