China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) recently issued a notice that it plans to strengthen oversight into online news broadcasts and other audiovisual programs. The notice, which announced upcoming investigations into internet firms, aimed in particular at those which produce their own news content, stated that:
1. Organizations with operations which entail gathering and producing their own news are required to possess a 'Class A online audio and video service' license. Organizations suited to apply for this license include radio or television stations at the prefecture-level and up.
2. Organizations with operations which entail publishing news content produced by a third party are required to possess a 'Class B online audio and video service license.' Organizations suited to apply for this license include radio stations, television stations and other bodies authorized by the State Council Information Office to engage in online news information services at the prefecture level and up.
3. Any radio or television channel which broadcasts programs with news-related content is required by the trial classification system for online audio and video operations to possess a Class D license.
The news channel for Chinese video site Tudou has been removed and replaced by a "Focus" channel. Competitors Youku (NYSE: YOKU) and Ku6 (Nasdaq: KUTV) both continue to feature a news channel.