Online TV shows boom despite tightening policy control

Online TV shows boom despite tightening policy control

2014/5/29

Chinese viewers have been watching television shows exclusively over the Internet for over five years, but the era of the industry has just arrived, according to Shang Na, chief of the video section of Sohu.com.


China has 450 million online video viewers, which is nearly 80 percent of the Internet-connected population. The number is expected to rise to 700 million by 2016, according to iResearch.


Online TV shows can be watched on any device at any time as long as there is an Internet connection.


"Absolutely Unexpected", a series produced by Youku.com and exclusively on its Internet platform, has been viewed 500 million times since it premiered in 2013.


"Diors Man", a series made by Sohu.com, has had 1 billion views.


"The era of online TV has arrived. The next step for video services is distributing original content," Shang said at a forum in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Thursday.


Liu Heping, a scriptwriter and deputy head of the scriptwriter working committee of China Radio and Television Association, said, "Television has to make way for online video." Liu is planning to produce his own online TV series based on the story of Zeng Guofan, a senior official and military general of the late Qing Dynasty.


Video websites like Youku, Sina and Sohu, also show dramas and comedies from the United States, South Korea and Europe.


However, the industry is facing tougher controls.


The nation's TV watchdog, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, ordered "Diors Man" to be removed from Sohu.com on April 29. Also, four U.S. TV shows were pulled from China's online streaming websites. The reasons have not been published yet.


The administration reiterated in March an existing rule that online programs be censored before being made available for viewing.


It announced last month that Sina.com will be stripped off its online publication license after articles and video content fell foul of the nation's high-profile anti-porn movement.


The "Cleaning the Web 2014" campaign has seen 110 websites shut down and some 3,300 accounts on social networking services as well as online forums deleted.


The office has vowed to maintain its crackdown on online pornography and hand down whatever punishments violators deserve, whether it be fines, licenses stripped or criminal prosecutions.


Also, copyright infringements are another concern for video streaming services. Earlier this month, QVOD Technology shut its QVOD (quasi video on demand) servers after the National Copyright Administration said the company, along with Baidu's video service, violated copyrights.


It used to offer pirated and pornographic videos with peer-to-peer video streaming technology. Its user base quickly grew to 300 million.


Despite all this, there is faith in the industry. Jin Dao, a scriptwriter, believes the trend is inevitable. "The Internet is very likely to be the platform for China's culture industry in the near future."


(Source: Xinhua)




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