(Yicai Global) Feb. 22 -- The Chinese government suddenly collectively suspended major live quiz show cell-phone platforms just before the Lunar New Year's Eve, which fell on Feb. 15.
The sudden 'collective suspension' clearly came out of the blue for major live quiz show apps as many of these live-streaming platforms had not removedtheir Spring Festival quiz show promotional materials.
Million Dollar Hero, backed by newsfeed platform Toutiao, issued a notice that it would hold a Xiaomi phone special show at 8:00 p.m. on Feb. 16, the first day of the Lunar New Year, with 12 questions and a shared prize of CNY5 million (USD785,000). Another major online quiz show platform invested in by Wang Sicong, son of Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, also planned to air a new program over the holiday. These schemes were, however, ultimately frustrated.
China's state press, radio, film and TV agency (SAPPRFT) called representatives from 17 online quiz show websites for a hearing on Feb.14, noting irregularities in their productions, and raising requirements to further restrict their activities, Sina Technology reported. The agency berated the quiz show operators for airing 'vulgar and tawdry' content.
SAPPRFT directed administrators to take effective measures to police these quiz shows and issued five guidelines in a circular requiring these apps to hold legal qualifications for online audio-visual programming and barring any organization or individual from operating without such a permit. It also required live quiz show hosts to hold appropriate qualifications. As most of the apps lacked the requisite preconditions, their collective suspension during the Spring Festival should have come as no surprise.
The online quiz show craze has swept the whole country. Entry is free, and players win by answering every question correctly. Those not eliminated by a wrong answer share the pot at the end. Billions of yuan have thus far been won. These quizzes are particularly popular in the countryside where time tends to hang heavy.
As early as January, Wang Ran, founder and chief executive of CEC Capital, sent a missive asking his circle of friends what they thought would happen with the quiz show mania convulsing the country. They returned three predictions: one that ever more players would jump on the bandwagon; two, that a single show would award a CNY10 million prize; or three the authorities would introduce more stringent policies. Pony Ma, founder and chairman of Tencent Holdings Ltd., unhesitatingly returned the third answer, believing the government would indeed introduce more restrictive measures.
Live-streaming platforms are quite anxious now to secure audio-visual license as soon as possible and find approved hosts per the requirements so as not to miss out on the gravy train.