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Entertainment time cut for satellite TV stations

Satellite broadcasters in China have been told to cut back on entertainment programs, and even less of overseas programs, giving a headache for choices to station chiefs.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television announced that starting from next year, it will allow every satellite TV station to buy the copyrights of just one overseas program. The new order is aimed to push for domestically-produced and “morality-building programs.”

Also, the copied programs cannot be aired during prime time from 7:30pm to 10:00pm within the year when they are imported. And only one musical talent show will be approved every three months by the administration to be aired during prime time.

According to the new regulations, TV stations cannot broadcast serials and entertainment programs for seven and a half hours in a day.

The extra slots will have to be filled with news, education programs and service shows, according to the state directive.

It ordered the broadcasters to air at least 30 minutes of domestically-made documentaries within the period of 6am to 1am, and 30 minutes of children’s programs or cartoons between 8am and 9:30pm every day.

The directive was issued on October 12, Southern Metropolis Daily reported yesterday.

In recent years, many mainstream TV networks have bought the copyrights of popular foreign shows and localized it like “China’s Got Talent” which is based on “Britain’s Got Talent,” and “The Voice of China” taken from “The Voice of Holland.”

Chinese TV stations also found it easier just by buying the copyrights and copying the foreign programs verbatim to increase their viewership ratings.

Under the terms of the contracts, the producers in China would get a detailed guidebook and assistance from foreign TV station personnel. They didn’t need to come up with brilliant ideas on their own but only needed to rework every step of the foreign program. It also proved to be an instant success, according to insiders.

But the new round of regulations is proving to be a bit of a concern for station chiefs, the newspaper reported.

“It is really a headache on how we can make up for the seven and a half hours of time. Many TV stations are used to airing TV dramas, shows and films,” a TV station staff, preferring to remain anonymous, told the newspaper.

Liu Yuan, deputy director of the chief editing office with Jiangsu Satellite TV, admitted that the new regulations would make it tougher on them.

Wu Chaoyang, publicity director of Shanghai’s Dragon TV, told the newspaper the television station has always tried to localize overseas programs and now has four and a half hours of news programs daily.



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