UPDATE: The championship match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup on July 15, between France and Croatia, drew 24 million viewers to Youku, the highest single-game viewership the streaming platform saw throughout the entire tournament. A total of 180 million users watched the World Cup on Youku.
Leading online video hub Youku has unveiled a series of promotions to boost fan engagement in China during the FIFA 2018 World Cup, as it looks to deliver the most-comprehensive coverage of the monthlong sporting event for Chinese users.
Youku, which is partnering with China Central Television to stream all 64 games of the tourney, will deliver to Chinese consumers a viewing experience that is about more than just sitting and watching a match, the Alibaba Group-owned company said at a press conference in Beijing on Sunday.
Among the promotions are World Cup-related talk shows, in-show merchandise sales and prize giveaways. It will be an ecosystem-wide effort, pulling in Taobao, Freshippo (also known as Hema), UC Web, online video site Tudou, Xiami Music, ticketing-platform Damai and Alipay, which is owned by Alibaba Group related company Ant Financial.
“Not only are we streaming soccer matches, but we’re also leveraging this leading sports event to showcase the power of the Alibaba ecosystem and show how Youku can lead the industry and capture opportunities in the China sports market by building relevant content and excitement,” said Weidong Yang, president of Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group and Youku. Yang also serves as CEO of AliMusic.
Here’s a list of what Youku has planned:
- Qi Tan Shi Yi Ren: a talk show produced in partnership with CCTV featuring celebrity guests and fans
- This Is World Ball: a sports program under Youku’s This Is franchise, hosted by well-known commentators in China
- Play Football With Peppa Pig: A soccer-education program for kids
- 20 online and offline World Cup programs for which Youku has acquired distribution rights
- Content such as short videos, music, text and graphics to appear on UC Web, Tudou, Xiami Music and Damai
- Promotions with Alibaba business units that cover e-commerce, restaurant and takeaway food orders, travel and entertainment.
- Coupons worth over RMB200 million ($31.2 million) set aside as prizes for an online contest where viewers collect the player cards of soccer stars
- Coupons for redemption on Taobao
“The widespread support from the Alibaba ecosystem ‚Ä¶ empowers Youku to deliver a superb experience for users to enjoy the popular monthlong tournament in many new and innovative ways,” Yang said.