Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) yesterday said the government would invest more than US$20 million to reinvigorate the production of local TV drama series, which have faltered under competition from China and South Korea.
Lung said the government would fund the making of five flagship drama series and help TV stations attract talent to raise the content and quality of their productions.
Until a few years ago, Taiwanese soap operas had captivated China with heart-wrenching love stories featuring stylishly dressed protagonists.
However, Chinese filmmakers have struck back, leveraging high salaries to attract Taiwanese actors and other movie workers to work in China.
“We hope to attract young movie workers, actors and script writers to the industry to help us penetrate the Mandarin-language drama market,” Lung said in a statement.
“These people should have no worries about whether the dramas are politically correct or be held responsible for pushing government views, but rather focus on making good dramas so viewers can stay glued to their TVs every day,” he added.
Last year, Taiwan’s drama series took only a 16 percent share of foreign drama productions aired in China, falling well behind Hong Kong and South Korea, according to the government.
Taiwanese TV dramas have also lost out in the home market.
According to government statistics, in the first six months of this year, China-produced drama series accounted for 27 percent of prime-time drama showings in Taiwan.
South Korean dramas took up 26 percent of the local market, following by Japan’s 8 percent and Hong Kong’s 3.5 percent. The rest were locally produced.
Lung said Taiwan would ask Chinese television stations to exempt Taiwan from a sweeping ban on prime-time airing of foreign-made series. She said Taiwan does not impose a similar ban on China-made productions.