According to AP China has decided
to restrict the broadcasting of Internet videos — including those posted on video-sharing Web sites — to sites run by state-controlled companies and require providers to report questionable content to the government.
The article also mentions that the regulations will take effect Jan. 31.
According to the new regulations online video sharing providers must get government permits and the companies must be either state-owned or state-controlled companies. It also says that it will not be allowed to broadcast video related to national secrets, hurts the reputation of China, disrupts social stability or promotes pornography.
So much for the news.
For a big part this is more the implementation of already existing policy and the more important question will be how it will be enforced. New is the requirement for state ownership or control (currently the Chinese video sharing companies are privately held) which could result in some re-structuring if, as said before, the policy will be enforced.
Why do I keep on using “if enforced”? Basically, because there is a big difference between written policies and the practice.
It may lead though to a further consolidation of the video sharing market which makes sense as only some time ago there were more than 100 players. It will also make it harder for possible new competitors.
Will it effect the uploading/sharing of videos in China?
Probably not, already there are monitoring systems in place at the video providers and whatever sensitive video seeps through will have had it’s impact probably before it will be taken down.
Will it effect Youtube?
Not really, there’s a Hong Kong version and a Taiwanese version but they’re not active on the Mainland for now. The current Chinese video websites like Tudou, 56.com and Youku are the ones that lead the market here and I doubt there’s room left for a mainland version of Youtube at this stage.
The only thing that could happen is that Youtube will be blocked. That happened before and it can happen again as it can happen for any website that the government deems inappropriate.
The story goes, depending on who you ask (some say it’s an overstated number that plays well in the media), that there are 30.000 Internet policemen constantly monitoring the internet. I imagine that having to monitor all these online videos beforehand would create a lot of new jobs but in reality it’s after publishing that alarm bells will start to ring.
In that respect it won’t matter whether the video sharing company is state controlled or not.