China's iQiyi Cancels Live Oscars Broadcast
While iQiyi mysteriously pulled its Oscars coverage, the Academy Awards are still airing in China via 1905.com, the online video platform of state broadcaster CCTV.
On the eve of Oscars night in China, local streaming video service iQiyi abruptly suspended plans to broadcast the awards live online across the country.
A spokesperson for iQiyi confirmed the cancelation to The Hollywood Reporter, but declined to comment. Reports of the sudden change of plans began spreading Sunday night across Chinese social media. As of last week, the company had been expected to air a bilingual live broadcast of the 88th Academy Awards. A cursory search of the iQiyi site shows no sign of live Oscars coverage.
Meanwhile, a live online broadcast of the Oscars by 1905.com, the online video platform of state broadcaster CCTV's movie channel, has gone forward.
iQiyi's mysterious cancelation comes amid a tightening of control over Chinese media and entertainment. A little over a week ago, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV announced that it wouldn't be airing the Hong Kong Film Awards for the first time since 1991, after the awards show nominated a speculative dystopian film about China's future control over Hong Kong for best picture. Chinese Internet giant Tencent also pulled its plans to live-stream the awards, despite a prior contractual agreement with the Hong Kong Film Awards Association.
iQiy, one of China's top three streaming video services, is 80.5 percent owned by Baidu, the country's dominant search engine. The video platform has signed numerous licensing deals with Hollywood over the past year, including partnerships with NBC Universal, Lionsgate and 20th Century Fox.