Tighter rules on video stream­ing

On­line apps say all along were strict on regis­tra­tion, an­a­lyst sees benefits

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By SHI JING in Shang­hai shi­jing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The year 2016 — widely re­garded as the best to date for the Chi­nese on­line video live stream­ing in­dus­try — to­ward its close also saw the sec­tor’s au­thor­i­ties im­pose a num­ber of tighter poli­cies on the emerg­ing in­dus­try.

On Mon­day, the Min­istry of Cul­ture re­leased new reg­u­la­tions on on­line per­for­mances, un­der which live stream­ing plat­forms will re­quire per­form­ers to reg­is­ter with valid iden­tity doc­u­ments.

The plat­forms must ad­di­tion­ally ver­ify their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion via in­ter­views or recorded video calls. Mean­while, on­line games that have not been ap­proved by the min­istry will not be al­lowed to go live on the plat­forms.

Live stream­ing ap­pli­ca­tion Inke told China Daily that it had all along re­quired per­form­ers to reg­is­ter with valid iden­ti­fi­ca­tion doc­u­ments in ad­vance. Inke has an au­dit team of 1,200 peo­ple — the big­gest of its kind in China — to re­view video con­tent and per­sonal in­for­ma­tion on a 24/7 ba­sis.

Beijing-based Yixia.com, the provider of the live stream­ing ap­pli­ca­tion Yizhibo, said it also had strict re­quire­ments gov­ern­ing performer iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. Yixia has in­tro­duced a face recog­ni­tion func­tion so that it can en­sure the va­lid­ity of the performer’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Yixia.com said in an email re­sponse to China Daily that some plat­forms used to broad­cast vul­gar and porno­graphic con­tent when rules were less strict, which hurt the sec­tor’s rep­u­ta­tion and had a potential neg­a­tive im­pact for the sus­tained growth of the in­dus­try. It added that the in­tro­duc­tion of the new reg­u­la­tions would be good for those plat­forms giv­ing a top pri­or­ity to con­tent.

It is the third time in four months that the au­thor­i­ties have in­tro­duced stricter poli­cies. In Novem­ber the Cy­berspace Ad­min­is­tra­tion — China’s in­ter­net over­sight and con­trol agency — re­leased new reg­u­la­tions re­quir­ing per­form­ers to reg­is­ter us­ing real names. Un­der them plat­forms which broad­cast il­le­gal con­tent were put on a black­list.

Early in Septem­ber the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Press, Pub­li­ca­tion, Ra­dio, Film and Tele­vi­sion re­it­er­ated that live stream­ing pro­grams should strictly fol­low the on­line pro­gram man­age­ment reg­u­la­tions.

“With the new reg­u­la­tions, the per­form­ers who used to make easy money by danc­ing, telling jokes, or sim­ply eat­ing and sleep­ing, will find that they are no longer pop­u­lar,” said Zhang Jiang jian, a Shen­zhen-based in­de­pen­dent in­ter­net in­dus­try an­a­lyst.

“Au­di­ences are no longer at­tracted by such con­tent. Per­form­ers with no core com- pe­t­i­tive­ness will no longer be fol­lowed,” he added.

“More im­por­tantly, the in­dus­try will re­gain its or­der.”

He said that a large num­ber of live stream­ing plat­forms used to present fake sta­tis­tics when the in­dus­try was ex­pand­ing rapidly. But with the new reg­u­la­tions, the in­dus­try would be more reg­u­lated and pro­fes­sional.

“Only plat­forms which can es­tab­lish a sus­tained profit model, or those able to seek an­other round of fi­nanc­ing, or those able to gain sup­port from in­ter­net giants, are likely to sur­vive the ever in­creas­ing com­pe­ti­tion,” Zhang added.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cy­berspace Ad­min­is­tra­tion, in Novem­ber there were more than 300 live stream­ing com­pa­nies in the main­land. The China In­ter­net Net­work In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter re­ported in June that there were a to­tal of 325 mil­lion live stream­ing users in China, com­pris­ing 45.8 per­cent of the to­tal in­ter­net user pop­u­la­tion.

Sta­tis­tics pro­vided by the China In­ter­na­tional Cap­i­tal Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd in­di­cates that the size of the Chi­nese live stream­ing mar­ket reached 15 bil­lion yuan ($2.17 bil­lion) in 2015.

With the new reg­u­la­tions, the per­form­ers who used to make easy money by danc­ing, telling jokes, or sim­ply eat­ing and sleep­ing, will find that they are no longer pop­u­lar.” Zhang Jiangjian, a Shen­zhen-based in­de­pen­dent in­ter­net in­dus­try an­a­lyst

Fan Feifei and Ouyang Shi­jia con­trib­uted to this story.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

On­line celebri­ties, dressed in an­cient cos­tume, broad­cast on­line video live stream­ing dur­ing an en­ter­tain­ment event in Wuxi, Jiangsu prov­ince.

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