Entertainment cutback for better quality

Updated: 2011-10-27 21:28


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BEIJING - The new policy to control entertainment programs that are broadcast on satellite TV is aimed to improve quality and curb unnecessary reproduction, said China's TV watchdog.

The reason for the policy is that a number of shows are "overly entertaining and of low taste," said a spokesman with the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) in a statement Thursday.

The programs on the SARFT list are dating shows, talent contests, talk shows as well as reality shows.

According to the SARFT policy, each of the country's 34 satellite channels will be limited to broadcasting two such programs each week and can broadcast a maximum of 90 minutes of content defined as entertainment every day during prime time -- 7:30 pm to 10 pm.

A number of entertainment programs are simple reproductions of popular ones and some tried to attract audiences through low-taste contents such as gossip and exposure of privacy. Doing so is not only a waste of resources but also bad for improving the quality of TV programs, the statement said.

Too many entertainment programs, broadcast during prime hours, will hold TV channels back from exercising their full duties. The media is not only to entertain people but also to inform and educate them, the statement said.

On some satellite channels, entertainment shows greatly outnumber news programs, the statement said.

According to the SARFT investigations, all 34 satellite channels now are running a total of 126 entertainment programs during prime time every week and every day 17 such programs are shown during that time.

In comparison, only on 15 channels the length of news programs reached two hours every day and only on 23 channels the number of news programs during prime time reached two.

Under the new policy, channels will be required to broadcast at least two hours of news programs between 6 am and midnight. Between 6 pm and 11:30 pm, they must each broadcast at least two 30-minute news programs.

However, the SARFT admitted that it will be difficult to precisely define what programs are overly entertaining.

The main standard is whether these programs have "positive topics" and inspire audiences or simply produce eye-catching effects, the statement said.

Local watchdogs and TV channels will have to follow the principles and make judgements themselves when implementing the policy, the statement said.

The statement also noted that the SARFT welcomes the introduction of high-quality foreign TV programs if suitable for Chinese audiences and imported legally.

If wanting to buy an overseas program, TV channels should apply to the provincial TV watchdog for approval and then report it to the SARFT two months before it intends to broadcast the show.