Media regulation

Video website licenses for 247 sites
Big Three left in the cold

sarft_logo.jpg

SARFT has published a list of 247 organizations that are "approved to host Internet audio-visual programs" in China.

The list includes privately-funded Youtube clones such as 6.cn and Ku6.com, and websites that do not yet exist, such as Sarft.com, which of course belongs to the industry regulator SARFT itself. Established Chinese portal websites such as Sina, Sohu, Netease and Tom also all have approval, as do websites that provide downloads of TV programs, such as PPlive.com and Uusee.com.

But conspicuously missing from the list are the Big Three of the Chinese Youtube clones: Youku.com, Tudou.com and 56.com. Although 56.com has been off line for nearly two weeks after an apparent porblem with the authorities, these three websites have the largest amount of funding of any video websites in China, most of it foreign. By most accounts they are also the most popular video sites in China.

But with CINIC reporting that there are 160 million users of online video, just under half of China's total online population, the regulators at SARFT have clearly decided that Internet video is a mass medium, capable of stirring the masses.

As a mass medium, uppity foreign-funded video websites are going to have a tough time until they can reach a mutually satisfactory accommodation with SARFT, and possibly other government organs.

The Big Three have famously large amounts of venture capital investment, something that SARFT is aware of.

SARFT may just let these websites run dry and expire. Or perhaps they will reach an accommodation soon enough to make sure some of the money, technology and know-how invested in Youku.com, Tudou.com and 56.com remains for the good of Chinese netizens, and for the Chinese government's own nation building purposes.

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Big Three left in the cold.

Comments on Video website licenses for 247 sites
Big Three left in the cold

what about youtube?

laoqiao Youtube does not operate a website in China.

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