The recent promise by a group of Chinese live streaming platforms to self-censor hasn’t stopped the government from taking action against these platforms that are walking in a legal gray zone.
On Thursday, 19 major streaming platforms including Douyu TV, PandaTV, Huya and Zhanqi TV were said to be under investigation by China’s Ministry of Culture. They are accused of hosting certain streaming content on their platforms that is said to be vulgar, violent and abetting crime. Once the investigations are done, the ministry will announce punishments.
The sudden emergence of mobile live streaming apps makes it easier for anybody to register as a streamer. Live streamers can earn big money from their fans by singing, dancing or simply chatting. I once watched a live video through Momo and saw a guy give “gifts” worth at least RMB 30,000 in just minutes to a live streaming singer. To draw more viewers, some streamers tend to cross the line to satisfy those who would like to pay for “stimulus” and “curiosity”.
To address the investigation, a spokesperson from PandaTV, founded by web celeb Wang Sicong, the son of China’s richest tycoon, Wang Jianlin, replied that “everyone knows that PandaTV is founded by Sicong, as the platform’s backbone, how could he allow the brand to become low [taste].” In addition to the government supervision, Apple is also keeping an eye on the content of the apps in its App Store, and products will be removed if deemed inappropriate, the statement added.
PandaTV, which went online last October, is one of Wang’s businesses that’s meant to link his investments in gaming and e-sports. Last September, ‘17’, a live streaming app that Wang had invested in, was removed from the App Store because of sex-related content.
“The live streaming industry is a mixture of good and vulgar things. Those who wants to create hype through obscene content are hurting the whole industry,” PandaTV said.
The list of streaming TV platforms including Douyu and Huya, also responded to the state investigation saying that they will “firmly fight against ‘low taste’ content.”
(Top photo from the official Weibo account of Panda TV)