China Clamps Down on Webcasting by Weibo and Other Media Firms


China’s broadcasting regulator ordered Weibo Corp. and two other internet media firms to halt video and audio webcasting, accusing them of operating without a license and disseminating opinions potentially harmful to social stability.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said services operated by companies including Weibo — often called China’s Twitter — had been broadcasting negative commentary in violation of government regulations. The regulator didn’t say what action had been taken, and Weibo declined to comment while it studies the order.

The regulatory ban could disrupt a revival for Weibo that’s getting underway. The messaging service controlled by Sina Corp. has turned to video streaming over the past year to rejuvenate growth. The company has since reignited user interest, pushing its typical monthly audience to 340 million people — surpassing Twitter’s — and its stock market value above $16 billion. Chairman Charles Chao is now focused on expanding Weibo into areas including news aggregation and live video streaming. Weibo’s advertising and marketing revenue increased 42% in 2016, reaching $571 million.

China’s broadcasting regulator ordered Weibo Corp. and two other internet media firms to halt video and audio webcasting, accusing them of operating without a license and disseminating opinions potentially harmful to social stability.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said services operated by companies including Weibo — often called China’s Twitter — had been broadcasting negative commentary in violation of government regulations. The regulator didn’t say what action had been taken, and Weibo declined to comment while it studies the order.

The regulatory ban could disrupt a revival for Weibo that’s getting underway. The messaging service controlled by Sina Corp. has turned to video streaming over the past year to rejuvenate growth. The company has since reignited user interest, pushing its typical monthly audience to 340 million people — surpassing Twitter’s — and its stock market value above $16 billion. Chairman Charles Chao is now focused on expanding Weibo into areas including news aggregation and live video streaming. Weibo’s advertising and marketing revenue increased 42% in 2016, reaching $571 million.

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