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September 2, 2009

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KTV commercials considered

SOME Shanghai karaoke bars may soon show commercials between songs to make up for increased costs from music royalties.

The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said consumers could complain to its officials if they believed their interests were violated because of the advertisements as the bars charged set fees for a set time.

Shanghai Tianhe Culture Broadcast Co Ltd, a company entrusted by music copyright owners to collect royalties in the city, suggested the commercial idea to karaoke bars.

"We hope the income gained from showing commercials can cover part of the royalties karaoke bars pay and reduce their burden," said Wu Ming, a Tianhe spokesman.

City karaoke bars started to pay royalties last year.

The charge was set at 6 yuan (88 US cents) a day for each room. The average karaoke bar has at least 50 rooms.

Wu said Tianhe had carried out a survey among some karaoke bars about showing commercials and half thought it a good idea.

Now Tianhe is developing the software for commercial broadcasts and will design a detailed plan.

The plan at the moment is to show commercials before customers start singing or in intervals between two songs.

Bureau officials said it would be OK if ads were broadcast with consumers' permission. However, they believe many consumers will be furious with ads spoiling their mood to sing.

"If the time of the ad broadcasting is not included into charged time it will be a better arrangement," said Sui Bo, an official with the bureau.

"And we hope the industry can make a unified standard for ad broadcasts, such as frequency and length."

The commercials are expected to be tried out in a few karaoke bars by the end of this year.

Zhu Nan, general manager of Jin Bi Hui Huang Karaoke Bar, said city KTV bars had not yet reached an agreement with Tianhe.

Zhu said karaoke bars would try to make a balance between cost reduction and consumers' interests.

"We are still negotiating. If the ad showing affects consumers too much or causes strong opposition, we may not go ahead," Zhu said.


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