Four US TV shows ordered off Chinese websites

Apr 27, 2014 by Louise Watt
An online streaming website shows a description of American TV show "The Big Bang Theory" but it no longer have access to episodes in the series on a computer screen in Beijing Sunday, April 27, 2014. Chinese authorities have ordered video streaming websites in the country to stop showing four popular American TV shows, including "The Big Bang Theory" and "The Good Wife," representatives from two sites said Sunday. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Chinese authorities have ordered video streaming websites in the country to stop showing four popular American TV shows, including "The Big Bang Theory" and "The Good Wife," representatives from two sites said Sunday.

The move suggests government attention is intensifying on the online streaming industry, which is freer than state television and China's cinemas to show foreign productions and other content and has stretched the boundaries of what can be seen in the country.

A spokeswoman for a leading online video site, Youku, said it had received notification on Saturday not to show sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," political and legal drama "The Good Wife," crime drama "NCIS" and legal drama "The Practice." Of those, Youku showed only "The Good Wife." The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television didn't give a reason for its order, said the spokeswoman, who couldn't be named because of company policy.

A senior manager at another site, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said it received the surprise order last week to "clean their website." The order, which was identical to the one sent to Youku and other companies, also listed a Chinese slapstick miniseries made by another site, Sohu, as having to be removed, said the manager.

Calls to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television rang unanswered Sunday, and Sohu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Online streaming sites regularly receive orders to take down Chinese or foreign TV programs and movies, but usually because the regulator considers them to be too salacious or violent or because they infringe copyright laws. Sohu's most popular U.S. shows are "Nikita"— from the first and second seasons have been watched a combined total of 472 million times—and "Masters of Sex," which weren't included in the order.

From time to time the regulator limits American-style reality TV and other light fare on satellite channels, ostensibly to stop "vulgar content." Some observers suspect authorities are concerned they are taking too much audience away from the national broadcaster, which the government sees as a tool to mold public opinion.

China's privately owned video streaming websites started life as YouTube-style sites that depended on users uploading their own clips. But they soon expanded into showing legally licensed domestic and international TV series and movies, which are often free to watch and accompanied by advertising. They also increasingly produce their own low-budget shows and, in some cases, co-produce movies.

Explore further: China video sites confident public will pay

4.1 /5 (7 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China wants to censor online video content

Jul 11, 2012

(AP) — China's broadcasting and Internet regulators have told Internet video providers that they must prescreen all programs before making them available, tightening state censorship of increasingly popular online drama ...

China's top 2 video websites to merge

Mar 12, 2012

(AP) -- China's top two video websites announced plans Monday to merge in hopes of creating the dominant competitor in a fast-growing industry that is drawing viewers from bland state television.

China video sites confident public will pay

Jan 14, 2014

When media studies student Liu Zhiqi settles down to watch a movie or TV drama at the home of the San Francisco family she lodges with, she misses the convenience of downloading content for free like in China.

Chinese video websites in court as industry grows

Jan 05, 2012

(AP) -- China's two biggest video websites are fighting in court over accusations they are misusing each other's programming as rivalry heats up in an industry that is luring viewers from bland state TV.

China tightens regulations for online films

Jan 23, 2014

Chinese authorities are requiring makers of online films to gain licenses and report their content before it is posted, tightening regulation of what in recent years has been a more freewheeling genre than ...

Lights, action: Tech giants rush into original TV

Apr 09, 2014

The battle of the tech giants is now moving into television. Following the success of Netflix and a fresh push by Amazon in online video, the latest players looking to get into the gold rush may be Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL, ...

Recommended for you

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

Aug 30, 2014

The latest banks are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Startups, such as Moven and Simple, offer banking that's designed specifically for smartphones, enabling users to track their spending on the go. Some things ...

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

Aug 29, 2014

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

Ecuador heralds digital currency plans (Update)

Aug 29, 2014

Ecuador is planning to create what it calls the world's first digital currency issued by a central bank, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (1) Apr 29, 2014
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Sucks to be you China!