Long-time competitors Tencent Video and Douyin are ushering in a new era of collaboration, with content sharing between the two platforms now officially endorsed on both sides.
As a result of the new agreement, users of Douyin Group apps can use any Tencent content without copyright infringement. Tencent Video is a streaming service that produces some of China’s most popular TV dramas, and clips from these dramas often feature in short videos on Douyin. Tencent Videos comes under Tencent, which is also responsible for Tencent News and the WeChat messaging app, whilst Douyin Group comes under ByteDance.
This was previously a major sore spot between the two companies, with Tencent suing Douyin multiple times for damages over original content appearing on the short video site. As compensation, Douyin has deleted thousands of videos from its site and paid up to 3 billion RMB (430 million USD) in damages since 2021.
The new agreement signals a significant step up in interoperability between the companies, an agenda the Chinese government has been pushing for some time. Interoperability refers to any kind of connectivity between platforms owned and operated by different tech companies. A lack of interoperability can mean, for example, that users cannot open a link to a product on the e-commerce site Taobao within the messaging app WeChat, since these platforms are owned by two different companies (Alibaba and Tencent respectively).
Amid China’s two-year-long tech crackdown, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has been pushing to tear down these “walled gardens”. Fostering greater inoperability addresses the government’s aim of maintaining a competitive tech industry. It also curbs the influence of individual tech companies, helping power stay concentrated in the hands of the Party.
The new agreement will free Douyin of the financial burden of consecutive lawsuits and promote content creation on the site among fans of Tencent Video’s dramas. Likewise, Tencent Video will benefit from engagement in these short videos, which will drive more traffic to the streaming service.