Government props up homegrown production

Territory report: China

BEIJING — Reality TV continues to rule in China, with the top three locally produced reality shows garnering a 30% share of the market.

The Chinese broadcasters have the cash and are focusing on domestic production, and the success of inexpensive reality TV skeins such as “Super Girl” means that the homegrown market is looking comparatively healthy at the moment.

One person in the overseas TV division at Shanghai Media Group says most of its foreign programming comes from other parts of Asia, especially Hong Kong and Taiwan, and that it has a quota of around 50 episodes per year.

As the government recently banned foreign toons in primetime to help bolster the flagging home industry, China is planning to crank up domestic output to generate 70,000 minutes of home-produced fare this year. So far, China has produced more than 50,000 minutes of animation vs. 47,200 last year.

China’s love affair with period soaps continues unabated. Among the big productions being prepped is a 50-episode remake of the classic 1987 TV skein “A Dream of Red Mansions,” which is being helmed by producer Hu Mei, who specializes in costumers.

Cheng Chunli, director of TV programming at China Intl. Television Corp., says the criteria for buying overseas skeins is high-quality programs in various genres that meet the requirements of the all-powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft).

“We’ll spend as long as we believe the program will be admired by Chinese audiences,” Cheng says. “This policy has been a guideline for our purchasing work for years.”

There is a growing interest in new technology. Over 4 million households receive digital pay TV channels, and there are more than 120 licensed pay channels. Some 30 million households are expected to sign up for digital pay TV in the future.

1. “Super Girl,” Hunan TV
2. “Dream China,” CCTV
3. “Go Good Boy,” Dragon TV

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