Plans to revolutionise internet television in the UK dramatically collapsed as reguators pulled the plug on the venture proposed by the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. The video on demand (VOD) tie-up, codenamed Project Kangaroo, is now dead in the water,
according to insiders.
All three broadcasters yesterday signalled they were unlikely to appeal in the wake of the shock ruling by the Competition Commission.
There was general disbelief at the decision to block the project, designed to provide a catalogue of thousands of hours of programming, largely for free.
The Commission said it had decided to block the proposed VOD joint venture. It feared the broadcasters were effectively creating a cartel that would squeeze out rivals in the online market because the BBC, through its commercial arm Worldwide, ITV
and Channel 4 control the majority of UK-originated television content.
The broadcasters released a joint statement expressing their disappointment: While this is an unwelcome finding for the shareholders, the real losers from this decision are British consumers.
The big beneficiaries of the decision, said one broadcast insider, were companies such as Sky, Virgin Media, Five and BT, who were likely to have lobbied the Commission against Kangaroo.
Chinese censors at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) have shut down 131 unlicensed video Web sites and penalized a further nine for carrying supposedly pornographic videos as part of its continuing crackdown on Internet porn.
SARFT said that the crackdown, which began on Jan. 5 and will last until the end of February, has also resulted in the country's 307 licensed video Web sites deleting content from their platforms. Among these are Tencent, which has deleted 12,841 videos;
Tudou, which has deleted 3,214 videos; PPLive, which has taken down 440 videos; PPStream, which has removed 85 videos; Joy.cn, which has deleted approximately 10,000 videos and posts; 6.cn, which has deleted over 2,300 videos and 2,500 comments; and
Funshion, which closed its forum and picture-posting areas.
Although Youtube has been unblocked, the China administration is determined to control audio and video content circulated in the Internet.
On March 30, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) issued an administrative notice, Concerning the tightening of management on Internet audio-visual content, In the notice that the following content should be banned from
against constitutional principle
damaging to national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity
disclosure of state secret, harmful to state security, national honor and interest
inducing underage youth to commit crime; rendering violence, pornography, gambling and terrorist activities
humiliating and slandering contents that violate citizen's privacy and rights
harmful to social morale and national culture and tradition
other contents that prohibited by other laws and regulations.
Internet audio-visual content providers have to edit and delete the following content:
maliciously distorting Chinese culture, history and historical fact; maliciously distorting other countries' history and disrespectful to human civilization and other countries' civilization and customs
deliberately ridiculing revolution leaders, heroic figures, significant historical figures, prominent figures inside and outside China
maliciously ridiculing people's army, armed police, police, and judicial bodies; contents that show physical abuse and torturing of prisoners and criminals
showing the arrogant and heroic side of criminal acts, details of crimes and investigation, image and voice of witnesses and whistle blowers
advocating religious extremism, creating conflicts among different religions, sects, believers and non-believers that hurt people's feeling
promoting fortune telling, fung-shui, exorcism treatment and other superstitious acts
depicting nature disasters, accidents, terrorist acts, wars and disasters in a spoofing manner
explicitly presenting promiscuity, rape, incest, necrophilia, prostitution, sexual perversion, masturbation and other similar acts
showing or implicitly presenting sexual behavior and bodily intimacy
deliberately exhibiting private parts of human bodies that covered up by body parts or small objects
inducing sexual fantasy
advocating unhealthy acts of extra marital sex, polygamy, one night stand, SM, exchanging partners, and etc
titled and tagged with seductive words or pictures that associated with adult films, pornographic movies, AV, hidden video, nipple slip, and etc
agitating content related with homicide, extreme violence, abduction, drug, gambling, and supernatural phenomena
excessive horrible image, subtitle, background music and sound effects
demonstrating slaughtering of animals, and human consumption (eating) of protected animal species
violating individual privacy
positive presentation or presentation that encourage fight, humiliation and vulgar languages
advocating negative and decadent life style, world view and value; exaggerating national backwardness and dark side of the society
video clips that have been banned by SARFT
violating the principle of relevant laws and regulations.
SARFT, China's media censor has announced that online video will be required to be submitted for censorship prior to being published online.
A SARFT spokesman explainedthat original drama series and films on video websites like Youku and Tudou are mostly great, but that some need to be cut, citing violations such as repeated curse words, violence and sexuality. In the future, original
productions destined for the internet will need to be approved by SARFT before they can be broadcast just like everything else.
SARFT claimed the move as a response to an outcry from internet users and industry needs.
Presumably this SARFT announcement means we can look forward to online programming quickly becoming as dull and lifeless as most television programming, which SARFT has been doing its damnedest to suck the fun out of for quite
some time now.
It is not yet clear how the measure will be implemented nor its scope, in particular whether this will apply to user generated content.
China is launching yet another new war on porn distribution. China Daily reported that the country's National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications said that the national campaign will last from mid-July to the end of November and
will target vendors selling videos, books and magazines, as well as various forms of pornographic or vulgar online content. Also in the country's cross hairs are books that promote gang-related culture and songs that feature obscene content.
Video websites are being told they must pre-screen all content that is deemed inappropriate. The State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) revealed new censorship rules this week in a published series of answers to reporters'
questions. Site administrators will apparently be given guidance on what is okay and what isn't. It remains to be seen how SARFT will enforce the new regulations, especially when it comes to user-generated content.
Many site owners will find it difficult to follow the new instructions since they suddenly have to find the resources to pre-screen everything that is uploaded. When it comes to doing business on the Internet in China, however, this is nothing
Chinese internet users who want to post videos to Chinese sites online will have to do so under their real names from now on, the official internet censor has said.
China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said on its website that the requirement is designed to prevent vulgar content, base art forms, exaggerated violence and sexual content in internet video having a negative
effect on society , Reuters reported .