Several entertainers accused the National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday of causing a talent drain with its strict punishment of the TV stations for violating regulations.
Veteran singer and TV host Bao Wei-ming (包偉銘) said he was upset to hear that CTi TV was fined NT$1 million (US$33,880) because one of the episodes of its variety show Here Comes Kangxi (康熙來了) helped promote popular band May Day (五月天) and their 3D movie, which he said does not make any sense.
“The episode did no harm to children and violated no social custom,” Bao said.
“All it did was promote a Taiwanese movie,” he said.
Bao said the government needed to have specific regulations governing product placement in such TV programs, which could increase advertising revenue that could be used to the fund the production of programs.
The NCC needs to use more specific standards to determine if a show blurs the line between advertising and programming, he said, adding that otherwise, the current situation would only force more people to seek career opportunities elsewhere.
Using his own example, he said he gets paid five or 10 times more when he works in China.
“Here in Taiwan, I am like a figure in a wax museum, but I am treated as an idol when I am in China,” he said.
TV producer Lai Hsun-biao (賴勛彪) said he recently took Taiwanese singer Jam Hsiao (蕭敬騰) to China to perform and Hsiao’s performance pay alone could fund a major entertainment show in Taiwan.
“Here [in Taiwan,] the program production costs start at NT$1 million, but in China the production costs start at 1 million yuan, or about NT$4.5 million,” Lai said.
In response, NCC Communication Content Department Director Jason Ho (何吉森) said Here Comes Kangxi was fined because the episode on May Day and its movie violated regulations not only by giving a detailed introduction to the movie, but also by airing a commercial during the one-hour show about the movie that lasted 60 seconds.
“Audiences want to see a program, not an advertisement,” he said. “The practice of product placement is very common in TV dramas, but the percentage of those actually being punished is less than 10 percent.”
Ho said the nation had specific rules to determine if a program has failed to distinguish between advertising and programming, adding it has proposed an amendment to the Satellite Broadcasting Act (衛星廣播電視法) to loosen the regulations on product placement and sponsorship.
The rules that have been criticized were stipulated and promulgated by the Government Information Office in 2001 and many channel operators have complained that they are too strict.