China’s media watchdog is cutting back on the number of foreign TV shows allowed to be adapted for a Chinese audience and broadcast in the country.
Beginning in 2014, TV stations in China will be limited each year to just one foreign TV “format” — a show concept already airing elsewhere that is remade for a Chinese audience (the format for American Idol, for example, has been adapted for 48 different countries and regions).
The new restriction is just one of many changes China is making to crack down on what the government considers to be vulgar content, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The government will substitute foreign-based shows with local content, especially educational programming that will “build morality.”
Hollywood has been hoping to get a bigger foothold in China for years and has found some success. The Chinese version of The Voice — The Voice of China — has topped ratings for two consecutive years. But now, overseas formats will be forbidden from airing during prime time (7:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.) in the year they are imported, and only one domestic musical talent show will be approved every three months.
Hollywood insiders expect the regulations will force more Chinese TV-watchers to abandon traditional TV service and instead stream American and other foreign content on computers and mobile devices.