Court Rules Against iQiyi for Charging Premium Subscribers Extra

The Netflix-like video site had imposed a surcharge on its VIP users for advance screenings of a popular Chinese period drama.

In a subscriber-versus-video platform legal battle, the former has triumphed.

The Beijing Internet Court ruled against iQiyi on Tuesday after the Chinese streaming giant charged additional fees to premium customers for complete access to an advance screening of a television drama, domestic media reported.

The court ordered the company to pay 1,500 yuan ($210) in legal fees, in accordance with the plaintiff’s demands, and added that the company had “harmed the interests” of the premium subscriber.

In December, a subscriber surnamed Wu filed a lawsuit against iQiyi for breaching the terms and conditions of its “VIP subscription,” which costs a few hundred yuan annually. The plaintiff said that the site had charged an additional 3 yuan per episode to watch the popular Chinese period drama “Qing Yunian” — also known as “Joy of Life” — before its release date.

Wu claimed that although the company had updated its policy on additional charges in December, the terms had been different when he subscribed months earlier, in June.

In December, premium iQiyi users, as well as subscribers to competing platform Tencent Video, had complained about additional charges after each company introduced revised terms of use.

Subscribers to both platforms were given free access to the first six episodes of “Joy of Life” before their official release, though the remaining episodes would only be unlocked early if they — even premium clients — paid additional charges, according to media reports.  Continue to read the full article here


– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.