China cracks down on foreign-inspired TV shows

Beijing: In an effort aimed at promoting domestic originality, China's media regulator has issued a directive limiting imported TV shows and remakes. With authorised remakes of foreign TV reality shows gaining popularity in China, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has ordered that, starting July 1, all television stations must stop airing unapproved programmes that are based on overseas formats, the China Daily reported on Monday. The licensing of TV programmes, concepts and branding created overseas --mostly shows from Europe and South Korea -- has been a growing trend in China since 2012. Adapted versions of foreign shows, such as the South Korean "Running Man" and "The Voice of China", imported from the Netherlands, have gained massive audiences as well as advertising revenues, thus inspiring more Chinese television groups to go in for foreign material. Citing the importance of promoting "Chinese cultural characteristics", the administration said it will require all TV groups to submit imported shows for content review two months prior to broadcast. Only those that are approved can be aired on national channels. Under the regulation, a satellite channel can air no more than two imported or foreign-adapted TV reality series during prime time between 7.30 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. annually. "The reliance on imported programme formats has been squeezing out the creative incentive of domestic producers and broadcasters," the administration said in a statement adding that "audiences are craving more Chinese original programmes that are fun to watch and feature healthy tastes". Gao Changli, director of the administration's publicity department, confirmed that the directive has been sent to all TV groups.