BEIJING (AP) - The boss of a Chinese online video site said Monday he believes the sudden banning of four American TV shows does not represent a wider trend, though it's unclear why the shows were targeted.
BEIJING (AP) — The boss of a Chinese online video site said Monday he believes the sudden banning of four American TV shows does not represent a wider trend, though it's unclear why the shows were targeted.
The government's broadcast regulator issued a surprise order last week to online streaming companies to stop showing sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," political and legal drama "The Good Wife," crime drama "NCIS" and legal drama "The Practice." The first two are particularly popular with the young online audience, and "Give me back Sheldon," referring to "The Big Bang Theory's" socially inept physicist, was a popular refrain among social media users expressing their anger at the show's disappearance.
"I believe it's a stand-alone event and it does not represent the policy trend or change toward American TV shows," Charles Zhang, Soho CEO and founder, said on a conference call.
Nasdaq-listed Sohu, which was the first Chinese online video site to license American TV shows, had rights to show two of the programs.
Zhang said Monday he had no explanation for the order and no comment on the possible reason. He said he didn't know if the ban will be temporary or permanent.
The move follows a restructuring of China's regulatory agencies that appears to have given the broadcast regulator more authority over video websites.
Beijing has in the past allowed video websites to operate with few of the restrictions that movie and TV broadcasters face, possibly to avoid stifling what was seen as a promising high-tech industry.
Video websites, with looser controls, show dramas and comedies from the United States, Taiwan and Europe and their own programs. They were not required to submit programs for approval, which allowed them to get imported material on the air faster than TV stations.