China plans to outlaw foreign TV shows at prime time

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - China's government plans to outlaw foreign TV shows at prime time and to limit imported content in fast-growing streaming platforms.

The rules released on Thursday (Sept 20) extend restrictions that have for years narrowed access to non-Chinese programming to curb what officials have characterised as negative influences on viewers. The National Radio and Television Administration proposal will also limit air time for foreign content and cap the participation of talent from outside the country.

The government has sought to limit foreign TV programmes as President Xi Jinping deepens the state's control of media and seeks to make it easier for Chinese content producers to compete.

Under the new rules, foreign content would be limited to 30 per cent of that available on streaming platforms as well.

The new restrictions, available for public consultation until Oct 20, also prohibit foreign talent, including writers, directors, actors and other crew, from comprising more than one-fifth of total talent in a Chinese TV drama.

Also, the director and writer cannot both be foreigners in a TV show; the leading actor and actress cannot both be foreigners.

The limit of foreign talent doesn't apply to films, which are regulated separately by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party's Central Committee.