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China's plan to curb 'excessive entertaining' shows 'may hurt profits': Experts

October 27, 2011 - Beijing

China's decision to ban reality television, and replace it with shows with so-called 'healthy' programming, is not likely to reshuffle the country's satellite channel rankings, but it could hurt profits, according to experts.

The move by the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) comes days after senior Communist Party leaders said that cultural reforms were required to balance the nation's increasingly speedy adoption of a market economy.

Under the order, SARFT said the nation's leading 34 satellite broadcasters would be barred from airing "excessive entertainment," and will be forced to show at least two hours of news each evening.

Yu Guoming, a communications professor at Renmin University of China, however, believes that the new regulations will affect the profits of the broadcasting sector.

"The administrative action might intervene in the industry, leading to economic effects," the China Daily quoted Guoming, as saying.

His remarks are backed by the SARFT research center report on Development of China's Radio, Film and Television, which showed that various shows contributed the most to the ratings of satellite channels in 2009, with an effect almost twice that of films.

"If the mass audience is interested in watching existing shows, changing or banning them without offering new interesting ones will cause problems. The public needs psychological massage and relaxation through such programs," Guoming added.

Liang Liang, a 26-year-old planning manager at a foreign advertising company in Beijing, said she expects to see the effects of the new regulation, but sitting in front of her TV set has never been the first choice for news.

"I like TV shows that have a point in them. I wouldn't care if the regulation bans those showing nothing but stupidity," she said.

Meanwhile, no evidence of the new order was found on the SARFT web site, but its publicity director Jin Delong said earlier this month that the restrictions were expected to come into effect on January 1.

Under the new regulation the broadcasters would be encouraged to air programs promoting "harmony, health and mainstream culture".


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