Movie & TV industry: Contrasting developments in US and China

March 28, 2019 16:34
Chinese authorities have curbed broadcasts of historical dramas amid concerns over 'unhealthy' depictions of palace and court life. Photo: Facebook

Video entertainment industry is booming thanks to evolving distribution and fee models.

Apple is the latest to join the field. By announcing its Apple TV+ service, the tech giant is making a big push into a market to compete to with players like Netflix and Amazon.

Apple TV+ is a subscription streaming service that will feature Apple’s original TV shows and movies as well as content offered by outside parties. It will be accessible not only on Apple devices, but also those of its rivals.

The pricing and business model of Apple TV+ will be similar to that of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

While Apple’s entry will intensify the competition in the video streaming industry, and probably make life even more difficult for traditional TV companies, the audience as well as content creators like actors, directors and script writers and all other film workers will all certainly benefit.

On the other side of the world, Chinese authorities have just tightened their policy and banned broadcasts of historical dramas.

Several popular historical dramas were taken off air. The ban also applies to OTT programs and streaming websites.

For some reason, the authorities believe these kinds of dramas are bad for the society. Officials had earlier curbed content featuring a number of other themes, including sic fi, crime and triad sagas.

Such stringent rules could run the risk of suffocating the creativity of the film and television industry.

Borrowing from overseas experience, a better way to promote quality is to let the market and audiences choose for themselves.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 27

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist