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Chinese media regulator tightens censorship of online videos

China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has ordered online video service providers to prescreen all programmes before making them available on the Internet, as it scrambles to limit the dissemination of what it deems vulgar content, excessive violence and pornography.

In a statement on its website, the oganisation added that online video providers will be held responsible for the broadcasting of any video content that Beijing deems offensive, and states that government regulators will ensure that they adhere to this ruling.

China’s online video sites and IPTV services are currently undergoing a period of intense consolidation and growth: notable recent developments include news that major online video sites Youku and Tudou have signed a definitive agreement to merge their operations (more details here).

Meanwhile, a number of IPTV providers have started partnering with their online video rivals: online video site Tencent formed a cooperation with a subsidiary of China Network Television last March to bring streaming video content to the latter’s IPTV platform last March, and Shanghai-based IPTV operator BesTV New Media signed a strategic partnership agreement with a subsidiary of China Radio International’s online TV platform China International Broadcasting Network (CIBN) last May.

A recent report from UK firm Point Topic (here) also found that China is now the fastest-growing market for subscribers to managed IPTV services, overtaking France and reaching in excess of 12mn subscribers by the end of 2011.

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