Monday, 2023 December 11

Daily Digest | Fast forward refused

Hi there. It’s Brady.

Let’s say you’re a fan of a Chinese celebrity who was cast in a serial drama that is going live today. You decide to binge the series. As a VIP member of the streaming platform of your choice, you expect early access plus the ability to skip ahead in the series whenever you want. That seems fair. (After all, you want your favorite celeb on your screen as often as possible.)

As it turns out, this arrangement isn’t always guaranteed. Advance viewing, even as a VIP subscriber, involves additional fees that stack up when a series has a few dozen episodes. Major streaming sites, like iQiyi and Tencent Video, were called out for this. In fact, iQiyi was sued in 2020 over the matter. The company paid a small financial penalty, and then nothing changed.

But that was then, and the general boldness of tech companies has been tempered in the past months. Streaming sites are now relaxing their viewing limitations so that VIP subscribers do, in fact, have premier access. The matter is being framed as one of consumer protection after public outcry. My colleague Jiaxing had the story. Check it out.

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