Censors in China have ordered video-streaming websites to take down four popular American TV series—”The Big Bang Theory”, “The Good Wife”, “NCIS”, and “The Practice”—in proceeding with new regulations meant to close loopholes that allowed foreign shows to thrive online despite being barred from broadcast television.
Regulators working with State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio Film and Televsion issued the orders on Friday, employees of two online streaming sites confirmed with the New York Times on Sunday. They added that there was no explanation from the authorities.
“Sapprft truly is currently actively studying a set of plans to specifically manage imported shows on the Internet,” Spenser Wang, director of government cooperation at the streaming site iQiyi, was quoted as saying in the Times report.
Video-streaming sites like iQiyi, Youku, Tudou and Sohu haven taken advantage of policy loopholes to stream foreign programming that might be not allowed to air on Chinese television because of strict censor guidelines, and as a more diverse selection of licensed content is being aired, more viewers are tuning in. The Times cited a Shanghai-based internet research firm, iResearch, estimating that China’s online video revenue increased 41.0 percent in 2013.
Wang said that officials have been preparing these new regulations “for at least a year” and that they would “definitely be published this year”.
Previously on Shanghaiist: ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Sherlock’ under new censorship laws…maybe