December 07, 2017

TCEHY - Online Ads in China - Tencent Media Summit

By Wei Ying

Tencent outlined plans to combat the dissemination of fake information online and become the leading digital platform for high-quality professional journalism during its 2017 Media Summit -- initiatives that could further extend its reach and appeal as a digital advertising platform -- as a potential government crackdown on the distribution of “fake news” looms.

Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s 2017 Media Summit in Shanghai attracted more than 4,000 attendees and featured a dozen speakers from influential media organizations and content providers last month, who discussed the imperative of applying higher journalistic standards to content publishing in the online world.

Tencent VP Juhong Chen shared company data showing consumer engagement with user-generated content was ebbing. According to Chen, more than two-thirds of Tencent's bloggers have seen user growth stall as the public’s desire for sharing unverified or fake news content has cooled. At the same time, Chen said, the consumption of more professional content, especially among younger demographics, was increasing.

Chen cautioned, however, that although younger users of Tencent were becoming more skeptical of unvetted news content, senior citizens remained highly vulnerable to fake information disseminated online, which is expected to push government authorities to impose stricter regulations of online information authenticity. Chen said more leading media companies have stepped up their production of short videos covering real social events and news in a move to increase public engagement with and trust of short online video news broadcasts from trusted sources.

One of the speakers at the conference, Ding Feng, CEO and founder of Hangzhou Ergeng Network Technology Co. Ltd., said his organization’s short-video news content has already attracted more than 300 brand advertisers, adding that the prospects for further growth in usage of short-video news coverage on Tencent over the next few years were extremely exciting.

Ren Yuxin, Tencent COO, said Tencent News was committed to upgrading the quality of news content over short-term commercial gain and would not publish low-quality or vulgar content for traffic growth.

Tina Wang, CEO of Shanghai Tio Advertising Co., said the migration of advertising budgets toward professional news was a broad emerging digital trend. She explained that a lot of spending dollars have shifted from SEM (search engine marketing) to newsfeed in 2017 and that Beijing Byte Dance Telecommunications Co. Ltd.’s Toutiao has seen enormous growth in the last two years, attracting many advertisers to spend on its newsfeed.

Wang believes Tencent, however, is best positioned to benefit long-term from this trend. “I think Tencent newsfeed has more opportunities,” she said. “Advertising spending is allocated to the top players, and Tencent has three times as many users as Toutiao,” she said. “For any ad agency, that means it’s more profitable and cost-effective to run ads on Tencent than on Toutiao.” Also, she said, “Tencent’s content quality attracts a higher caliber of users compared to the other platforms.” 

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