China's media regulator has issued new rules banning overseas television shows from being shown at prime time as the country tries to encourage domestic programming, State media reported yesterday.
Overseas television series must be capped at a total of 50 episodes and the running time for an imported series must not exceed 25 percent of the total time a given channel dedicates to broadcasting such shows, China Daily reported.
Most overseas television series are from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and India.
U.S.-made shows are highly popular, but are mostly watched online or via DVDs.
According to the announcement by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, Chinese stations are prohibited from airing foreign series between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and must not “intensively” broadcast shows from just one country.
Chinese networks are also forbidden from airing unapproved shows produced by companies outside of China, and foreign series that contain violent or vulgar material, the rules state.
“Regulatory bodies around the country must increase their supervision over foreign television shows broadcast on television stations at all levels, and increase fines levied for those who break the rules,” it said.
China Daily said the regulations were “to protect domestic cultural products and ... help create a favorable environment for TV shows made by companies on the Chinese mainland.”
China’s television channels increasingly have to rely on attracting advertisers, and therefore viewers, as government subsidies are reduced.