Four U.S. television shows, including “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Good Wife,” are no longer available on China’s largest video websites after the government escalated a crackdown on content deemed offensive.
Sohu.com Inc. was ordered by regulators to remove “The Big Bang Theory,”. A search for “The Good Wife” on Youku Tudou Inc.’s website generated a message saying the show couldn’t be found, possibly because Youku “deleted the content due to violations of relevant rules.” The other deleted shows included “NCIS” and “The Practice,” according to the official Beijing Daily.
Chinese video sites, including Baidu Inc.’s IQiyi, have been aggressively buying copyrights to licensed content to win advertisers and paying members as China’s 618 million Web users search for entertainment. Government censors are tightening control over content, with Sina Corp., parent of China’s largest microblogging service, saying last week it may be stripped of two licenses because some content is considered pornographic.
China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television issued a notice stepping up regulations on online TV shows and films “to prevent vulgar content, base art form, violence and sexual content in online videos having a negative impact on society.”
Sohu, whose rights only include online broadcasts, wasn’t given an explanation for the take-down directive and the show may return after a review of the decision.
President Xi Jinping kicked off a “Cleaning the Web 2014” campaign in April, resulting in the deletions of 110 websites and 3,300 accounts from China-based social networking services such as Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat and Weibo Corp., according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
Sohu imported US shows including “House of Cards,” “Saturday Night Live” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to attract China’s “affluent and the well-educated urban audience”. Sohu, which positions itself as the “best destination for premium American content,” had exclusive rights to distribute “The Big Bang Theory.” “The Good Wife” is shared by Sohu, Youku Tudou and Tencent, according to the Beijing Daily.
The subject generated more than 300,000 comments on Weibo, China’s largest Twitter-like platform.
Thanks to Michael Tighe and Bloomberg.net, and
Thanks for “listening”
The Neu Facebook