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PPLive: Huge, Profitable, and Barely Known

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PPLive has so many seriously stunning numbers, it’s hard to choose which one to lead with. But I think 5 million concurrent live streamers might be it.

Let me back up. PPLive is sort of the Joost of China, in that its product is a peer-to-peer software client that delivers Internet television (both live and on-demand). But in part because few Chinese people have cable subscriptions, it already has 100 million installations and 20 million active users, who spend an average of 11 hours per week.

I spoke with James Seng, the company’s VP of international, after we appeared on a panel together at the Supernova conference in San Francisco today (see video embedded above). Only one member of the audience and one panelist had ever even heard of PPLive before the event. We at NewTeeVee had only written about the company in the context of it hosting sports, raising funding (the company has $25 million from Softbank China Venture Capital, BlueRun Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson), and getting sued.

But PPLive certainly seems worth writing about if its numbers are to be believed. The company has some 900 live channels and 700 videos on demand. It does have to compete with widespread piracy in China, but it offers old seasons of television, local TV programming, and plenty of sports video. It has content deals with CCTV, MTV, ESPN, Time Warner, the NBA and more. Seng’s general comment regarding the lawsuit was that PPLive licenses its content from partners, so the copyright issues are on their end.

Seng also said PPLive has some 250 employees and — OK this is seriously too much — is profitable. The company began showing advertisements on its content last year, and gets pretty low CPMs, but has enough viewer hours to make them count, said Seng.

Seng’s job is to get the word out about PPLive stateside and recommend whether it should launch locally, acquire a company that already has a U.S. presence, do a joint venture, or license out its technology. We’ll be watching to see what he decides.

13 Responses to “PPLive: Huge, Profitable, and Barely Known”

  1. James Seng

    if there is a larger iptv network than pplive in china, do produce the stats here. PPStream is the closest competitor to pplive but last study by iResearch shows it is still a distance number 3. Speaking of content, PPS may have larger content but maybe you would like to explain the source.

    The only one who can claim similar numbers to pplive is perhaps QQLive, bcos of its extreme popular IM service in china.

    PPlive client is available as a download so if there is any feature not working or having “research problem”, don’t think we can hide it.

  2. video sharing

    I am a chinese student in USA now. In fact, there are 2-3 company larger than PPlive in China now. All chinese use “” the same funtion and more powerful. PPlive has a good start but it had some research problem in the past. The video on demand funtion is not workable. The main competior are service more than 5000 contents in the same time now. It is not a good idea for showing incorrect message abroad.

  3. Michael Iron, Streamsoft founder and CEO was interviewed in Israel on Blog and announced that after collecting some 1,000 new product and service ideas from P2P users, Streamsoft taking the user suggestions seriously and will soon debut and implement new features to Streamsoft player before launching its Beta to the market. “It’s exciting to see the community’s interest in video streaming solutions like Streamsoft player” said Michael Iron, “The feedback we got from potential users has been all about flexibility and we have seen a consistent request to provide platforms that allow people to broadcast their video of choice. We are listening, and as a result, we are working with to certify our clients. This is another step towards ensuring that our customers have a good experience with Streamsoft player”.