Tuesday, August 15, 2006

China media gets into web groove

The Asia Times reported that the Chinese newspapers are taking a "if you can't beat them, join them" approach to new media.

It isn't at all surprising. Chinese have been known for their keen eye on the money. With print advertising growth slowing and internet advertising encroaching, they have no choice but to "follow the scent of money".
According to the Shanghai-based iResearch, China's online advertising market totaled 1.9 billion yuan (US$238 million) in 2004, up 75.9% from 2003. And iResearch's projections may be still too conservative. The latest statistics from advertiser Ogilvy show that China's online advertising market grew 77.1% from 2004 to reach 3.1 billion yuan in 2005, ranking fourth among all media, and exceeding magazine advertising income for the first time. China's online advertising market is predicted to reach 4.6 billion yuan in 2006, up 48% from 2005, and hit 15.7 billion by 2010. - Asia Times
What's most interesting is that the Chinese are yelling for protection of intellectual property. Bloggers and websites must stop lifting articles that takes millions of yuan to create. In a country where piracy is rampant, the Chinese newspapers are crying foul.

How can we rationalise intellectual property protection in one sphere and piracy in another? At the end of the day, it really depends on who gets hurt and how much power they have to right the wrong. But does anyone have the power these days?

The internet - 2.0 and all its glory - has been about user-generated content. A lot of which is borrowed from media companies. Take a trip to YouTube and you will find plenty of movie and TV show clips. That is the paradox of user-generated content.

Is it fashionable or practical to try and put a stop to 2.0? Rupert Murdoch thinks not. Everywhere he goes, a story on how Fox is embracing new media ensues. In less than a year, he has become a hero for new media. He embraces user-generated content and hasn't got himself into sticky discussions on intellectual property rights (not that I know of).

Maybe the Chinese "get it". The AsiaTimes story clearly points to China papers embracing new media. Once they get busy with it, there will be little time to go after the content pirates. Will they innovate successfully? It will be very interesting to watch, especially from Singapore, where the media is an oligopolgy-monopoly industry with no impetus to tackle new media quickly.

For now, content piracy will be sidelined... unless, some genius finds a way to easily capture pirated content and bring them to legal justice.

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