China's Internet Video Giant Youku Tudou Rewards Content Creators With Revenue

Youku founder Victor Koo

The user-generated video site has paid out more than $500,000 to participating contributors, and offers cinematography and digital marketing seminars to top amateur talents.

A new revenue sharing program by China's biggest online video outlet, Youku Tudou, has generated more than $500,000 dollars in income for participating content creators in the four months since the initiative launched.

The program, which kicked off in June, allows those taking part to earn money generated from advertisements embedded with the content they upload -- much like YouTube. 

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Top video creators have earned between $3,500 and $10,000 per month from diverse content such as education, humor, games and animated commentary, the group said in a statement.

Other content includes web serials from comedians, musicians and original productions.

The figures involved are small, but they are significant.

Hollywood is watching the success of Youku Tudou closely. It is keen to exploit the opportunities offered by China's booming online video market, and it wants a platform and a revenue stream for legitimate content online in the face of rampant piracy.

The program seeks to encourage grassroots video producers to share their work with wider audiences. and own the largest platform for user-generated content (UGC) in China. Smartphones and tablets are fueling the fast growth of UGC.

China is the world's largest Internet market with 591 million users, and in the last year the number of people who surf the web from smartphones and tablets rose by 20 percent.

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Since June, views of videos in the revenue sharing program on and have increased 30 percent month to month.

"We are thrilled to see such promising growth of this new initiative to reward talented content creators," said Zhu Xiangyang, chief content officer at Youku Tudou.

"Youku Tudou proudly takes the credit for nurturing China's online video talents since 2008, and we're gratified that more and more people are using video to express their thoughts and creativity," he added. "By rewarding great independent creators through this open revenue sharing platform, we look forward to further unleashing the unlimited power of user-generated content."

The top monthly earner is Li Hongchou, who started creating web serials a few years ago while in college, pulling in $12,000 in the last few months. His first hit web serial, Off-Campus Roommates, looked at young people living together in an apartment, similar to the American television series Friends.

Li now has his own studio and has produced more than 300 web episodes, netting nearly 300 million cumulative views.

Participants' videos have prioritized recommendations as well as search support and a faster upload channel. They are able to monitor their channels, income and marketing results. Youku Tudou also offers participants offline training, including cinematography, digital marketing and case study seminars. Some participants are invited to join in-house production projects initiated by and