As online video audiences grow to new extremes, brands have an opportunity to gain new visibility with consumers. This article from the FT recently looked at some of the most successful content on the country’s largest online platforms:

When Zhang Xinyu and Liang Hong started talking about getting married, they did what any rich, brave and crazy near-newlyweds would.
The Beijing-based couple left lucrative jobs to travel the world, and recently tied the knot in Antarctica after a journey that took them through such locales as Somalia, Chernobyl and a volcano in Vanuatu.
Zhang Xinyu (right) and Liang Hong pose with local residents at Ambrym in Vanuatu.

Zhang Xinyu (right) and Liang Hong pose with local residents at Ambrym in Vanuatu.

No other young people in China’s corporate grind have yet copied the couple, but they have certainly been keen to follow along. The second season of the mini-documentary of their trip, which they are making in conjunction with China’s largest online video site Youku Tudou, has been viewed close to 10m times online, earning ad revenue for both the couple and the site.
The third season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, by comparison, had 14.2m viewers.
“It’s very aspirational,” says Youku Tudou’s founder and chairman Victor Koo, with a slight laugh.
The show also embodies Mr Koo’s own aspirations as the rise of smartphones with fast 4G connections and internet-connected TVs is making online video an ever bigger business, a trend true both in China and western markets.
The Stanford-educated executive has no plans to trade in his board seat for a backpack, but to keep Youku Tudou ahead in a fiercely competitive market, he needs more original content that is just as popular as the couple’s trip.
China’s online video scene is already the biggest in the world, with over 400m viewers. Hundreds of millions of new smartphone and smart TV viewers are likely to join in the next few years. Youku Tudou’s sites are popular both for their convenience and their creativity – they are less regulated than state-owned television and have long developed their own shows in addition to syndicating local and foreign content.
Youku’s rival, Sohu, has scored a recent hit with a subtitled stream of Netflix’s House of Cards. Its second season features machinations involving Chinese cyber attacks and corruption, making it popular among Chinese viewers who almost never see such topics featured in local TV dramas.
“With all these new screens, the younger demographic is watching more and more video, and they’re looking for different kinds of content from what they’ve seen on their parents’ TV screens,” says Mr Koo.

You can read the article in full here.