Tue, Mar 13, 2018 - Page 3 News List

CHINA’S 31 INCENTIVES: Ministry to set up fund to boost global presence of public broadcasting firms

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

To extend the reach of locally produced creative content, the Cabinet on Thursday finalized a bill to establish an intermediary culture and content strategy development agency, a public foundation whose responsibilities would include matching copyright owners with international OTT service providers on an integrated platform — a task which the government is unlikely to undertake as it involves negotiations with private companies.

The agency would likely be led by private-sector experts equipped with the know-how and practical experience in marketing creative content, who would be better suited for the government’s goal of building a “national team” to grow Taiwan’s cultural and creative industry.

The agency would review plans to create television shows, films, anime, comics, games, music and publications submitted by the private sector.

It would control a NT$10.1 billion (US$345 million) “binary” fund comprising of budget allocations from the Forward-looking Infrastructure Development Program and the National Development Council’s (NDC) Cultural Content Subsidy Program.

To spur private-sector investment in movie and television show production, the NDC subsidy program, which has a budget of NT$6 billion, is available to media distribution channels, OTT service providers, financial institutes and venture capitalists, making for greater flexibility compared with past practice, which only allowed production teams that have a contract with venture capitalists to receive subsidies, Cheng said.

The agency is also to help production teams develop more mature and engaging plots — which can often make or break a movie or television series — by building a library, called the national cultural material database, and authorizing the use of its data, she said.

“The more localized [a work is], the more internationalized [it becomes], because there are stories that only we know how to tell best,” Cheng said.

One of the reasons why ambitious plots failed to realize their full potential was a lack of funding to play out the plots — a problem that could be ameliorated with the binary fund, she said.

Cheng said that while it is still unclear how China’s incentives will play out, the Taiwanese government has a responsibility to make the caveats known by informing the public of the potential risks associated with Beijing’s policies.

The import of foreign movies are controlled by China’s state-run China Film Group Corp, which sets the quota on the number of Taiwanese films allowed to be screened per year at 10, but it has in the past few years approved only five films or less, she said.

China claims it would lift the restrictions on the proportion of foreign crew members working on a Chinese film, but it has long imposed a limit that caps the number of non-Chinese at one-thirds of a film crew, which seems to contradict the claim, she said.

In March last year, China passed a law that stipulates that Chinese corporations must not collaborate with foreign individuals or organizations that undermine “ethnic unity,” and in September promulgated guidelines stating that television and online series must go through a standard review process before they can be aired, which hampers filmmakers’ freedom of expression and creativity, Cheng said.

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