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Vietnam Comedy Channel Hits Youtube ‘Milestone’ in The Country

The Vietnamese comedy channel FAP TV has become the first YouTube account to hit the 10 million subscribers mark in the Southeast Asian country

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Youtube, Vietnamese, Milestone, 10 million, Subscribers
YouTube promoted its brand in Ho Chi Minh City with a panel with Vietnamese users. VOA

The Vietnamese comedy channel FAP TV has become the first YouTube account to hit the 10 million subscribers mark in the Southeast Asian country of nearly 100 million people, according to an announcement on Thursday from the Asia Pacific office of Google, which owns YouTube.

Vietnam has been one of the fastest growing markets for the video site, especially after Google invested in computer servers in the country, which have sped up streaming and download times. YouTube has also invested heavily in Vietnamese language content and advertising.

But the process has come with growing pains, too, most notably in the realms of taxes and censorship. The site has blocked videos with content critical of the government. While these actions are taken following requests from the state, YouTube says it follows the same protocol around the world when it gets requests from governments to take down clips. Videos have been blocked in countries from Algeria to Germany, with reasons cited ranging from hate speech to terrorism.

In its transparency report for Vietnam Google notes that it received a request from the Vietnamese government to remove 28 YouTube videos inciting violent protests during the Vietnamese Independence Day period (Vietnam’s Independence Day is September 2).  Google says it removed 12 videos for violating YouTube Community Guidelines that prohibit publishing instructions to commit violent acts. It restricted access to 4 other videos in Vietnam. The company did not remove the remaining 12 videos.

Google also appears to be complying with a new cyber security law in Vietnam, which requires foreign companies to set up representative offices inside the country. Some have speculated that one of the factors motivating the law is to ensure that multinational companies do not evade taxes.

Vietnam has been trying to collect taxes from both Google and YouTube, as well as other foreign tech companies that make profits from Vietnamese customers while declaring their profits to tax authorities in other countries with lower tax rates like Singapore. In contrast to a bricks and mortar store that sells bicycles, which are simple to tax, foreign tech companies tend to sell intangible services, like advertising attached to YouTube videos, which are harder to tax.

Youtube, Vietnamese, Milestone, 10 million, Subscribers

YouTube passed out branded cupcakes at a promotional event in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. VOA

“Aside from the matter of studying amendments to laws and regulations of tax administration, cooperation is needed between state agencies and industry,” Luu Duc Huy, head of the policy department at the Vietnamese General Department of Tax, told the government TV station, V News. “Second, cooperation is needed between the Vietnamese tax agency and other countries’ tax agencies.”

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Google has said repeatedly that it follows all laws in the countries where it operates.

It is not just Vietnam. Most countries from Thailand to France are trying to figure out how to collect taxes on YouTube and other businesses that physically operate beyond their borders but make money from citizens within the borders. As Huy noted, the solution is likely to derive from these multiple tax authorities coming together, as is now being proposed by the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. (VOA)

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Netflix Adds More Subscribers, Braces for Higher Competition

In its letter to shareholders, Netflix exuded confidence of weathering the competition from Apple and Disney

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FILE - The Netflix logo is seen on their office in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. VOA

Netflix added 6.8 million subscribers in the third quarter of this year internationally, compared to seven million it had forecast, even as the streaming giant braces for stiff competition as Apple and Disney prepare to launch similar services.

Netflix reported $5.2 billion in revenue in the third quarter, up 31 per cent over the prior year, and operating income doubled to $1 billion.

“In Q3, our guidance forecast was our most accurate in recent history,” Netflix said on Wednesday in a letter to shareholders.

The results cheered investors as shares of the streaming giant rose over five per cent in after hours trading.

“We have been moving increasingly to original content both because of the anticipated pullback of second run content from some studios and because our original content is working in the form of member viewing and engagement,” Netflix said, adding that its “Stranger Things Season 3” emerged as its most watched season to date with 64 million member households in its first four weeks.

Netflix said that it will continue to expand its non-English language original offerings because they help the company increase penetration in international markets.

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The new plans appearing on Netflix India’s website lists the weekly mobile-only plan for Rs 65, basic plan for Rs 125. Pixabay

“‘The Naked Director’ broke out as the biggest title launch for us in Japan and was also highly successful throughout Asia. Similarly, in India, we debuted the second season of ‘Sacred Games’, our most watched show in India,” the company said.

“To date, we have globally released 100 seasons of local language, original scripted series from 17 countries and have plans for over 130 more in 2020. We also plan to expand our investment in local language original films and unscripted series,” it added.

In its letter to shareholders, Netflix exuded confidence of weathering the competition from Apple and Disney.

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“The upcoming arrival of services like Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock is increased competition, but we are all small compared to linear TV,” Netflix said.

“The launch of these new services will be noisy. There may be some modest headwind to our near-term growth, and we have tried to factor that into our guidance. In the long-term, though, we expect we’ll continue to grow nicely given the strength of our service and the large market opportunity,” it said. (IANS)