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China toughens rules for overseas shows

Chinese authorities are demanding all shows from abroad obtain a licence and face tough watchdog reviews before being made available online.

The moves comes in the midst of warnings Chinese media regulators will further tighten restrictions on foreign shows in coming months, according to the China Daily.

The latest development sees the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television toughening the conditions for overseas programmes as a way of controlling what shows its viewing public can see. China’s government is keen to see programming that promotes local culture take precedence.

SAPPRFT has ruled all overseas shows and movies should obtain a licence to broadcast. Furthermore, in an attempt to control the viewing habits of its young adult and teenage TV audiences primarily, watchdogs will give overseas content thorough checks before allowing them to be viewed online.

This is latest hit for international distributors looking for a foothold in the Chinese market. In April, a number of shows including CBS smash The Big Bang Theory, were banned from all Chinese streaming websites.

Before that, regulators had put a restriction on the number of primetime formats from abroad that could run on satellite channels. Insiders say this has actually helped to broaden the production market, with more development in factual entertainment now happening as opposed to the usual shiny floor singing shows popular in the territory.