Beijing restricts foreign TV programs

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Beijing restricts foreign TV programs

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[ZHEJIANG SATELLITETV, JOONGANGILBO]

It will become more difficult for Korean programs to enter the Chinese market following the decision by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (Sarft) to prohibit foreign TV programs from being aired during prime time, which runs from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Sarft, which supervises China’s broadcasting policies and regulations, told broadcasting companies to air more local programs instead.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping began his tenure in 2013, China has been tightening regulations on foreign broadcasting content.

According to a report by Xinhua News Agency late last month, no satellite broadcasting companies in China will be able to release any remakes based on foreign programs during prime time more than twice a year.

In addition, the release of a new program based on foreign programs will be limited to once a year, and the new foreign-based programs will not be allowed to air during prime time in its first year.

Sarft defines a foreign program as any program that is the product of a collaboration between Chinese broadcasting companies and foreign organizations, any program made by employing a foreign producer or any program for which China does not fully own the intellectual property rights.

These shows will be the target of regulations that will take effect in July.

In addition, in accordance with the new policy, satellite broadcasting companies that plan to air foreign programs will have to receive permission from the local government, central government and Sarft at least two months in advance of the program’s release.

Xinhua News Agency explained that Beijing came up with such measures because the popularity of foreign programs has recently skyrocketed in China, mentioning the Korean reality show “Running Man” and the Dutch audition program “The Voice,” both of which were remade into Chinese versions.

The Korean entertainment industry is expected to be hit hard by the latest changes.

Recently, it has become a trend in China for celebrities to participate in reality programs that have been remade based on Korean programs.

According to the Korea Creative Content Agency, 23 Korean programs were sold to China from 2013 to 2015, and on several occasions, Chinese companies invited Korean production crews for consulting.

“The five to six broadcasting companies with the highest ratings all feature reality shows that are based on Korean programs,” said Lim Hoon-ki, the head of Invest Beijing, a company providing consulting services to businesses entering the Chinese market.

Lim added that it will become more difficult for Korean entertainment programs to enter the Chinese market due to the new regulations.

“We have to pay attention to the fact that China has strengthened regulations on remade reality programs,” said one source engaged in the broadcasting field, who wished to remain anonymous, “and it has even started regulating jointly-produced shows.

“Even if Korea and China co-produce a show in the future, Korea cannot control the dividing copyright profit shares between the two sides, and it may end up as something akin to a subcontractor.”

Yoon Jong-ho, the former corporate representative of Everyon TV, an online website for live-broadcasting videos, also showed concern.

“We should defend ourselves against China because even with the huge success of the recent Korean hit drama ‘Descendants of the Sun’ in China, we never know when and how the Chinese government will take act in a way that harms Korea.”

BY YE YOUNG-JUNE, LEE HOO-NAM [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]



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