Youku licensed as broadcaster

Move is a first for a Chinese video Web site

SHANGHAI -- has become the first Chinese online video site to be granted a broadcast license, signaling closer cooperation with the country's strict media regulators.

The State Administration of Radio Film and Television also renewed Shanghai-based Youku's business license on Thursday, ending speculation that the company's past troubles over posting video content distasteful to censors would continue.

China's top YouTube competitors -- Youku, and -- were all left off a June SARFT list of 247 online video-sharing sites that were granted licenses.

Chinese media authorities strictly monitor what goes on television and are trying hard to keep on top of Web content. has been shut down since June 3, and Tudou was forced to shut for 24 hours in March during the unrest in Tibet.

Youku founder and CEO Victor Koo said that the licenses were finally granted because Youku has a "well-tuned monitoring system" and practices "content review procedures."

"We are confirmed as a legal audio-visual media broadcaster and distribution platform," Youku spokeswoman Echo Qin told The Hollywood Reporter.

Youku will use its new status as a broadcaster to expand cooperation with the 100 traditional media companies including Shanghai TV, Beijing TV, China Film Group, Universal Music and EMI Music, with which it signed a deal with in June, Qin said.