Media regulation

The travails of Tudou and Tang Wei

tudou_tudou.jpg
Tick tock

Update: Tudou is back up, 00:05 Beijing Time, 15 March.

The story about online video site Tudou, recently censured by SARFT takes another twist.

Since early this morning, the site has been offline, offering only the following message in explanation:

Potatoes:

To provide you all with better service, we are migrating and expanding Tudou's central servers.

Our service will be suspended from 0:00 to 24:00 on 14 March.

At 0:00 on 15 March, our migration will be complete and Tudou will promptly return home.

Nobody in the industry believes the explanation of the server move: see for example this article on Enorth.com.cn which says that the server moving explanation is "suspicious" and also says that this may be the "most serious case" of a website shutting down in the history of the Chinese Internet.

For their part, Tudou seem to be confident that they will restore services at midnight tonight: Tudou videos embedded in other websites currently show a clock counting down the seconds until midnight (see screenshot above).

Perhaps Tudou will return so harmoniously that their troubles will be over, but it is probably going to take some work. On Tuesday this week, research and consulting firm Marbridge released this bit of information:

42 Online Video Sites to Sign "Self-Discipline Agreement"

After 8 companies signed the "Self-Discipline Agreement for Chinese Internet Audiovisual Programming", another 42 online video sites have applied to join them. Among them, some of the better-known names include: Netmovie, Jeboo, Vodone, Sina, PPStream, Youku, Quacor, UUsee, 6Rooms (6.cn), Hupo.tv, UiTV, QQ.com, and PPLive.

Editor's note: Tudou, which recently saw its cooperation with CCTV.com put on hold and is now awaiting possible punishment from the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) for alleged violations of rules on banned content, is not listed among either the first 8 or current round of 42 existing/applying signatories of the Self Discipline Agreement.

An expensive omission, perhaps?

*****

In other SARFT news, Normandy Madden of Advertising Age has an article about the crazy media regulator's ban on actress Tang Wei (reported on Danwei here), that looks at at affair from the point of view of Unilever, whose Ponds brand has been using Tang as a celebrity endorser:

[Unilever] recently selected Ms. Tang as the face of Pond's in the mainland, a major skin-care market, as part of an effort that began last month to lift Pond's into the mid- to high-end category. Ms. Tang's celebrity endorsement deal with Unilever is reportedly worth $845,000...

In a statement given to Advertising Age by Unilever in China, the company said: "The advertising itself was produced and distributed in accordance with Chinese rules and regulations. Government approval was received before distribution and airing. We have not received any official notice for the ban and we are currently trying to ascertain what lies at the root of the issue. The Pond's contract with Tang Wei remains intact."

The agencies handling Pond's creative and media in China, Ogilvy & Mather and WPP sibling MindShare, respectively, declined to comment.

There are currently 3 Comments for The travails of Tudou and Tang Wei.

Comments on The travails of Tudou and Tang Wei

现在12:10...土豆回来了...准时!

Yes, it's working fine for me too now - looks like they really were migrating servers after all.

I've heard from a couple of people now that they've actually seen Tang Wei's Ponds ad on BTV in the past week - including BBS thread that questions whether the whole controversy surrounding the banning of the ad is just some PR stunt.

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