iPanda is a Chinese website featuring live streaming of giant panda reservation sites. The site was launched by China Network Television, the Internet branch of China Central Television in August 2013, and collaborated with Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and China conservation and research center for the Giant Panda. The site is available in simplified Chinese and English, aiming to provide a window to observe a giant panda’s real daily life and to address concerns about endangered species.
The main structure of the program “ iPanda” includes livestreams, request programs and documentaries about pandas. CNTV has set up more than 30 high definition video cameras in the Chengdu research base of giant panda breeding and also wolong national nature reserve. Through those cameras, a group of program directors in the control room are able to observe pandas, and they will select about 20 cameras for 24/7 live streaming, to ensure the perfect view. On the website, people can get to watch pandas in different stages of life including adult pandas, young pandas and cubs. Registered users can also make comments on the platform below the live streaming. Taking advantage of the footage captured, program directors will also produce 30-minute request videos everyday in various themes including panda wiki, panda profile, and panda stories. Those requested videos will be accessible on the YouTube iPandaChannel and also on other social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. A few panda-themed documentaries and feature programs owned by CCTV (China Central Television) can be found on the website for those who want to know more about pandas. At the same time, iPanda.com will produce some elaborate documentaries.
The YouTube channel is called iPanda. The audience exceeds 542K subscribers, on the channel there are 8112 uploaded videos and more than 203 million total number of views. On Instagram the account is called ipandachannel. On this platform iPanda has over 2 million followers. As for Twitter, iPandah joined this social media platform and created their channel back in February 2013. The channel is iPanda and has more than 164K followers. On Facebook their account is also called just iPanda and here there are more than 23 million followers. iPanda also has a website which is ipanda.com.
Just four days after iPanda’s test-launch, the website had “attracted nearly 15,000 Internet users to visit and leave comments”, as reported by Xinhua News Agency . In 2013, at the first China Internet Audio-visual Conference which is a national-level annual summit, IPanda won first place for Innovation Models. The site is also making success abroad, with overseas users accounting for more than 40% of total viewers. However, this channel has also been criticised. The Atlantic calls the site “Giant Panda Reality TV show” and argues that nowadays the China government overemphasized panda’s business value, which could possibly have a bad influence on conservation efforts. Other concerns are about Panda Propaganda. Some columnists expressed the view that this big-spending program is part of China’s soft power and diplomacy.
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