20 September 2018
TV stations have been told to tone down promotions and keep them off prime time. Photo: Bloomberg
TV stations have been told to tone down promotions and keep them off prime time. Photo: Bloomberg

POLICY WATCH: Govt targets ‘infomercial’ pollution

China’s television broadcasters are being told to clean up their act and keep prime time free of “infomercial” pollution.

Starting Jan. 1, they will not be allowed to air shopping-related shows between 6 p.m. and midnight with news anchors as presenters. They are required to tone down the promotional pitch, according to an Oct. 29 circular from the State General Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

For other time slots, such infomercials can only be broadcast once per hour and no more than three minutes each time. The same advertisement cannot be aired more than three times in one day.

The crackdown follows viewer complaints about excessive promotion and exaggerated claims by advertisers.

A recent survey showed that nearly half of TV shoppers believe they have been cheated at least once but most of them chose not to complain.

Only 8.3 percent of the victims tried to get their money back and 75.6 percent of those said no one responded to their complaints.

Such findings added to concerns about rampant abuses in the TV shopping market, leading to calls for tougher regulations.

Also, the government wants television broadcasters to promote wholesome advertising and to warn viewers if a particular spot or segment is an infomercial. For instance, ads promoting breast firming and slimming products are not allowed. Promotions that use Chinese actors are encouraged.  

Provincial radio and TV authorities have been ordered to strengthen supervision of the industry and severely punish offenders.

China’s TV shopping market was worth 70.12 billion yuan (US$11.51 billion) in 2012, up from 58.67 billion yuan in 2011, according an industry report released this year.

– Contact the reporter at [email protected]


EJ Insight writer

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