The National Communications Commission (NCC) said it would list the percentage of locally produced TV series as an important criterion when reviewing terrestrial television services’ license renewal applications.
NCC Communication Content Director Jason Ho (何吉森) said that it had asked China Television Co (CTV, 中視) to gradually increase its percentage of locally produced programs aired during prime time when it reviewed the company’s application for a management reshuffle in May.
“The same requirement will apply to other terrestrial stations when we review operational plans in their applications,” Ho said.
Ho said that Article 19 of the Broadcasting and Television Act (廣播電視法) states that locally produced programs shall not be less than 70 percent of the total radio or television programming, but that the article does not specifically define “programs” as TV series. Terrestrial television stations easily meet the requirement by including news programs and variety or talk shows, he said.
“Terrestrial television services utilize public resources and should be evaluated by higher standards,” Ho said, adding that the commission was considering adding the protection clause for locally produced programs in amendments to the Broadcasting and Television Act.
Ho said many countries around the world have rules to protect locally produced programming. France, for example, requires at least 40 percent of movies or TV series to be made in France. Programs aired between 8:30pm and 10pm must be produced either in France or other EU countries.
“Just look at the prime time series aired on Taiwan Television [台視, TTV] from January to August this year. You will find that it only broadcasts South Korean dramas. This is too much,” he said.
Ho said that the commission originally planned to include a similar protection clause in an amendment to the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法) and Cable Radio and Television Act (有線廣播電視法), but decided not to after considering the impact the requirement would have on television stations during the economic downturn.
Ho also said that the public has to pay to view cable or satellite channels, which are meant to provide diversified content, so the Cable Radio and Television Act only requires 20 percent of a cable channel’s programming to be locally produced.
NCC spokesperson Lee Ta-sung (李大嵩) said that increasing the number of locally produced programs has always been one of the commission’s policies. Lee said the commission would communicate the policy to the television stations first before it starts amending acts.
Television producer Wang Wei-chung (王偉忠) said the NCC should look into the operations of cable and terrestrial television channels and provide subsidies or other incentives for locally produced content.