China’s live-streaming video market may face tougher regulation amid spread of ‘vulgar content’
- A commentary published by the Economic Daily once again puts the spotlight on the proliferation of ‘vulgar content’ online
- While the article did not identify the providers responsible for such content, shares of Kuaishou and Bilibili were hammered in Hong Kong on Thursday
“If we just blame this on the improper behaviour of live-streamers and ignore the improper distribution mechanism of platforms, we will be missing the point,” the commentary said. “If platforms prefer traffic flows [over high-quality content], this will surely create a group of low-quality, vulgar and pandering live-streaming video accounts.”
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While the Economic Daily’s article did not identify any company in China’s live-streaming video market, investors of publicly listed providers took the cue.
“Some live-streamers were doing streaming sessions in which they ate the leftovers of elephants,” the newspaper said. “That was an eyesore and made many other users grumble.”
The commentary questioned the business model of live-streaming video platforms, which direct online traffic flows to their most popular content creators. Typically, the more viewers a live-streamer can attract, the more income this content creator can earn – either from the platform, tips from their audience or sales of goods from their online store.
“Platform companies will need to put the relationship of content and traffic in order, and go back to the right values,” the commentary said, pointing out that “content is king”.
“Nothing in the tech industry is off limits for regulators,” said Mark Tanner, managing director at Shanghai-based research firm China Skinny. “The live-streaming industry, in particular, has become unwieldy. It’s the Wild West more than some of the other industries that are being regulated, so the chances are there will be further intervention.”