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CCTV launches video sharing website

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Beijing Youth Daily
December 29, 2009

China's Central Television made its debut into the online video market yesterday with the launch of its new website cntv.cn, causing wide spread speculation that the eight hundred pound gorilla of Chinese television will bring significant change to the Chinese online video landscape.

The website currently offers a download client which enables users to watch live streaming of the TV program of various TV channels, including CCTV's owns; like other video-sharing sites, it also support free video uploading and sharing.

According to today's Beijing Youth Daily, the recent anti-piracy campaign carried out by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has led to shutdowns of a number of Bit Torrent-based peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing websites. As a result, part of this P2P userbase will now be diverted to other video-sharing sites. One video-sharing site PPlive in particular has seen 274% percent boost in site traffic. The newspaper explains that the video-sharing sites are the new outlets for the Internet users' demand for online video consumption.

Most of the Chinese video-sharing websites face copyright issues to various degrees. In most cases, a sizable proportion of the site's content are TV news clips, movie mashups, even whole seasons of popular TV series and full length movies, often without the copyright holders' permission.

Youku.com, which may be the current market leader over Tudou.com, lost a copyright lawsuit filed by its competitor Sohu.com before an appeals court overturned the ruling on December 17.

With guaranteed good will from government agencies and a steady flow of content produced by its huge television crew, it is believed that CCTV will not have the same trouble.

The online video business has been seen as a fast growing and lucrative field. The newspaper predicted that the number of the online video viewers would reach 388 million next year, accounting for 94 percent of all Internet users. Youku posted a net income of over 200 million yuan in the financial year of 2009, and the total market value, according to Li Shanyou, CEO of video-sharing site Ku6.com, will be between 6 billion yuan to 7 billion yuan by 2012.

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