According to the online video site Youku.com, which hosted the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic concert, 6,482,007 unique visitors watched the live three-hour concert. The biggest live webcast ever done in China generated 50,627,568 actions by users, including votes, virtual flowers and virtual kisses. The most popular band got 10,000,417 online votes.
The event's success greatly surpassed expectations, and that was welcome news for Nokia after the company's global profits fell more than 90% for the first three months of the year.
The world's largest mobile phone manufacturer shipped 93.2 million handsets in the first quarter of 2009, a 19% year-on-year decline and a 18% drop from the last quarter of 2008. Overall sales for the industry have fallen by double-digits as mobile phone users hold on to old handsets in the midst of a global recession.
The dismal state of the global phone category puts even more pressure on handset makers like Nokia to do well in the world's largest mobile phone market. The Finnish company sold 17.9 million phones in Greater China during the first quarter of 2009. That was a 14.8% drop compared with the same period last year but up 38.8% from the 12.9 million handsets sold during the fourth quarter of 2008. The sales boost came at least partly from the success of the 5800 XpressMusic, a powerful smartphone and Nokia's answer to Apple's iPhone.
Music has become a popular platform for marketers in all product categories in China. Nokia and rival Motorola both operate a music download platform in the mainland, and other advertisers such as Pepsico, Adidas and Chivas rely heavily on music-related marketing.
The online concert initiative fits the lifestyle of China's young internet generation. "Through this, they can really express themselves--their desire to interact, to get involved, and to communicate," said Koh YeeWee, Nokia's marketing director for Greater China, Japan and Korea in Beijing.
The event featured two Chinese performers, Jane Zhang and Anson Hu, as well as Singaporean JJ Lam and several acts from Taiwan--Joanna Wang, the band Sodagreen, Da Mouth, Kenji Wu, Deserts Zhang and Chang Csun Yuk. Youku built a mini-site for the webcast, www.nokia5800.youku.com. The mini-site hosted a live video stream of the concert, an interactive video pressroom and a real-time archive for video clips of the concert.
While watching the online concert, Youku users could toggle between camera angles from four different live streams in one window. They could also vote for their favorite performer, and the artist with the most votes, Sodagreen, did an encore at the end. After finishing their on-stage performances, the artists moved to the interactive press room to answer questions from Youku users. All the video clips will be archived at www.nokia5800.youku.com.
The concert marked the debut of a new cooperative model called "Youku Live," said Kaiser Kuo, a consultant for the video site in Beijing. "Brands can significantly amplify below-the-line investments. [Online events have] the potential to reach hundreds of thousands, or even millions of viewers."
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