| BEIJING, Sept 5
BEIJING, Sept 5 China repeated its intention to
tighten control of foreign content on online streaming sites, a
move that will require websites that stream foreign films and
television shows to register their content for approval in
If websites do not seek approval for their foreign
programmes by April 1, 2015, they won't be able to broadcast
them online, said the State Administration of Press,
Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) on Friday,
which first unveiled its tougher stance earlier this year.
There were signs of a boom in online foreign TV and film
content in China last year, where traditional broadcasting and
films allowed to air in cinemas are heavily controlled. The
crackdown also comes amidst wider curbs on freedom of speech
online in China.
Leading online video sites include those run by Sohu.Com Inc
, Baidu Inc's iQiyi, Tencent Holdings Ltd
and Youku Tudou Inc.
Last month, state media reported that Tencent had been
forced to suspend more than 300 accounts on its WeChat mobile
messaging app and had banned around 40 others as government
restrictions on spreading political news online took effect.
This week, the Wall Street Journal and later Bloomberg
reported that Chinese regulators were planning to impose a 30
percent limit on the proportion of foreign TV content allowed on
video streaming sites.
"I would say it's the usual cycle," said Mark Natkin,
managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting. "The
regulator comes out with some regulations but leaves them a
This leads to a situation where the industry being regulated
will push back until their actions are too far off the
originally issued regulation, so the regulator will reiterate or
add new requirements or deadlines, said Natkin.
Some industry experts think that the attention from SAPPRFT
can be drawn back to traditional broadcasters, whose advertising
businesses have suffered as people switch to watching programmes
In April, four U.S. television shows, The Big Bang Theory,
The Practice, The Good Wife and NCIS, were ordered removed from
video websites by the government. Soon after, The Big Bang
Theory resurfaced on official state broadcaster CCTV.
(Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)