By Horace Lu
The State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) may move to ban all cut-in advertisements during soap operas on all TV channels, including CCTV.
Although many TV professionals have come out of the woodwork to confirm the new policy, the censorship agency has not issued any formal statement. According to Malcolm Moore, the Daily Telegraph’s Shanghai correspondent, the ban does not exist, restrictions were only tightened. (Update: SARFT issued the ban on cut-in ads on Nov. 28th, forbidding all cut-in ads in TV dramas. )
It is believed that the ban, if implemented, would be a huge blow to all TV stations in China.
Data has shown that soap opera advertisements bring in about 70% of for broadcasting stations. One expert, in an interview with Zhengzhou Evening Post, said that the ban could lead to losses of up to 20 billion yuan nationally.
If the ban is implemented, TV stations may be forced to resort to product placement in TV dramas, such as making actors mention brand names or take a long refreshing swig of cool, crisp Coca-Cola mid-scene in order to make up lost revenue (urgh).
In October, SARFT initially placed restrictions on the frequency and length of cut-in ads.
SARFT is also said to be planning a lottery among all TV stations to decide which programs will be put on the air during weekend prime time.
In October, it imposed restrictions on entertainment shows on all provincial satellite channels, which meant some popular programs had to be removed from prime time.
If the lottery idea comes to fruition, some popular entertainment shows like China’s Got Talent might lose their slot in prime time, forcing viewers to watch shows few have ever heard of.