Chinese media regulators have banned the streaming of drama series that do not have government permits.
State news agency Xinhua reported the issue of a circular on Monday by five government agencies. The circular said that Internet drama must come under “archival administration.” It specified that means increased intervention to ensure ideological and artistic merit.
Sometimes-staid state-controlled TV has been increasingly shunned by Chinese audiences as regional cable and satellite channels have grown and streaming video platforms have delivered more cutting-edge content.
Regulation has struggled to keep pace with the expansion of new media. But Xinhua made it clear that online drama is now subject to a regime that is now the same as TV.
“To optimize the structure of television series, China Central Television, provincial satellite stations, and major online platforms were asked to designate prime time to include content on revolution and military themes or rural and ethnic minority life,” Xinhua said.
Online and regionally produced series have frequently attracted official scrutiny. In one case, a major historical series was ordered off air and only allowed to return after images had been reframed to remove women’s cleavage.
A greater premium has been put on Chinese-made content in the last year. That followed administrative decisions to crimp the broadcast of previously popular South Korean shows, and to limit shows based on foreign formats.