The video platform that laid off Mr. Zhao, iQiyi, had an abysmal quarter, dropping about $268 million. Its share costs fell 85 % from their excessive in 2021, reflecting traders’ issues that the corporate, as soon as aspiring to be China’s Netflix, shall be wanting exhibits that may appeal to extra subscribers and advertisers.
“The most important drawback for our trade is extreme scarcity of content material provide,” iQiyi’s chief govt, Gong Yu, instructed analysts in November. He blamed, partly, censors’ sluggish approval. IQiyi didn’t reply to requests for remark.
(Mr. Zhao confirmed the main points in his social media account, however declined to remark additional.)
Many movie, TV and streaming initiatives have been canceled or killed over issues of more and more harsh and unpredictable censorship, stated folks within the trade.
Lilian Li, a author in Beijing, stated Tencent and a studio working with iQiyi approached her final yr about making a streaming sequence primarily based on considered one of her historical past novels. A number of weeks later, each corporations instructed her that that they had determined to not proceed as a result of there was little hope of getting the censors’ approval for a historical past sequence. She stated she obtained far fewer collaboration requests from content material suppliers in 2021.
Chinese language content material creators all the time joke that they dance with shackles on, which means they attempt to fulfill the censors whereas interesting to their audiences. By now it’s clear that irrespective of the artistic concessions, there’s no assure that their initiatives can see the sunshine of the day.
Some of the anticipated films for the 2021 Christmas season needed to change its title to “Fireplace on the Plain,” from “Moses on the Plain,” presumably due to its Christianity reference. Then 4 days earlier than its launch, the manufacturing staff stated it was postponed with out giving an evidence.