China Central Television (CCTV) is considering teaming up with telecommunications giant China Mobile to launch an internet-based TV station to 'seize the [propaganda] high ground' in online video distribution amid the growing popularity of YouTube-style video portals on the mainland. The order for the state broadcaster to make an all-out assault on online video-content sharing came from leaders of the Communist Party's central committee, according to a statement from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft), which administers CCTV. CCTV has already moved a large chunk of its content - ranging from news, drama and variety shows - online to CCTV.com, but the new venture would be a comprehensive online video platform offering internet users a greater sense of interaction, Zhang Jisong, from CCTV's Internet Communication Centre, says. Citing a recent survey of internet users, Mr Zhang said that more than two-thirds of internet surfers were searching for video content, an indication of its growing popularity. China overtook the United States at the end of June to claim the highest number of internet users in the world, with a registered online population of 253 million. As the authorities retain a tight grip on traditional media outlets, mainland internet users are increasingly airing their grievances and using vigilante tactics to advance social justice, turning on unscrupulous businesses such as tainted baby formula manufacturer Sanlu or conmen such as Zhou Zhenglong, the man behind the fake south China tiger photo scandal. As a result, the authorities are increasingly wary of the heightened clout wielded by so-called netizens in shaping public opinion of the government. Huang Yu, head of Baptist University of Hong Kong's department of journalism, said the fact the CCTV internet TV station was described as a move to claim the 'high ground' underscored a growing inclination by the authorities to use militaristic terminology to address either financial turmoil or propaganda rivals. 'The high ground rhetoric demonstrates that the authorities are moving from a defensive to an offensive position,' Professor Huang said. He said the impact of the internet and its potential for growth had exceeded what many had imagined and the market for online video distribution had great potential. CCTV's Mr Zhang refused to say when the online platform would be up and running. But the Sarft statement said that following a pilot run during the Beijing Olympics last August, the broadcaster would further explore the mainland market for mobile video distribution in a tie-up with China Mobile. The statement added that management was also looking for the most effective way to regulate online content for the healthy development of the online venture. Professor Huang said regulators might have to compromise their tight grip on such online ventures by having less censorship.'You just can't regulate the internet in the same way you can control the radio and television media,' he said.