ByteDance’s Douyin Wins FIFA World Cup Broadcasting Rights

Football fans in China previously watched the World Cup only through traditional television channels like CCTV or online video streaming platforms such as Youku, but during this year’s edition, ByteDance’s Douyin became the first short video platform in the country to obtain live broadcasting rights for the competition.

The copyright fee paid by Douyin Group to CCTV exceeded 1 billion yuan ($139 million), according to several reports. Many industry insiders believe that video platforms that have cooperated with top level sporting events in the past suffered from “users’ low willingness to pay and small scale of paid users.” Moreover, the free access offered by Douyin, which doesn’t display ads or charge membership fees, could cause it to lose even more money.

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However, according to a report by Chinese media outlet Huxiu, a large part of the benefits brought by broadcasting rights will be released slowly over time. On the one hand, with the direct attraction of the World Cup to sports fans, new users will continue to be added, and content, traffic and content creators on Douyin can be led together to complete cross-platform transfer. From this perspective, the World Cup can be regarded as Douyin’s investment in content ecology construction.

Some market insiders said to Huxiu that the cooperation between Douyin and the World Cup has high potential. “Compared with other platforms such as Tencent Sports and Youku, the product influence of the Douyin content community is obviously greater,” said an analyst. “The short video platform can not only use the traffic advantage to make the World Cup fully cover young users, but also deepen the influence on young users through posts related to competitions and players.”

The World Cup undoubtedly provides a guarantee of high traffic – it can therefore further strengthen the brand-building plans of Douyin, and attract favor from more major brands. Before the start of the World Cup, the short video platform won sponsorship from Mengniu Dairy, Yili Group, FAW-Volkswagen and other leading brands. During the event, topics such as “Saudi Arabia and Japan secured two of the biggest upset victories” and “Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United” aroused heated discussion on social media – even before the start of the event. Related topics have been viewed on Douyin 17.52 billion times.

An employee in charge of platform copyright cooperation told Huxiu that top-level events have a far-reaching influence on brand building, saying, “the World Cup has a strong viscous penetration into users in terms of ad value and brand building. Douyin digs World Cup-related topics to the wider field of sports in depth, and can also cultivate content ecology.”

Topsperity Securities believes that the powerful topic effect of the World Cup can not only stimulate ads, but also drive consumer economic activities such as gambling, merchandise derivatives, cultural and sports activities, clothing, and more, and it has a strong “themed investment” attribute.