GroupM, WPP’s media arm, has declared a new normal for China’s ad market, trimming its 2016 growth forecast from 9.1% to 6.6% in its latest This Year Next Year report, published this month. The same might be said for competition between traditional and online media in China, especially TV and OTT video, as increasingly wide-reaching regulation creates a more level playing field between the two. After being gradually reined in over successive years, one of online video’s big market advantages – a more relaxed content regime – is starting to disappear. New rules for drama content brought in at the start of the year, for example, apply to both online and offline TV. Streaming video sites, previously able to air edgier fare that mainstream media wouldn’t touch, now have to compete for viewers on a more equal footing, by making better but more restrained shows. At the same time, TV viewing appears to be stabilizing, after losing share to online alternatives.
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