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China Tunes Out TV Commercials

Posted on Nov 29, 2011
Thomas Galvez (CC-BY)

A television sits idle at the Shanghai airport.

In the spirit of fostering a more “socialist culture,” the Chinese government is banning commercials that interrupt television dramas. Judging by this BBC report, China’s TV executives seem much more concerned with lost revenue than with government interference.

First they come for the commercials, then they come for the billboards, then they come for the free perfume samples.  —PZS


Adverts will not be allowed in the middle of programmes lasting for 45 minutes from 1 January next year.

The authorities said this was in line with the “spirit” of a recent Communist Party meeting.

Senior leaders said then that they wanted to develop a “socialist culture”, although they did not elaborate on exactly what that means.

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By nash984954, December 1, 2011 at 11:18 pm Link to this comment

Hi, Queenie, love your Kitty picture, in case you didn’t know that was an initial selling point for cable as they were installing lines all over the neighborhoods in the 70s. It was a pay for what you watch kinda thing, and you paid a flat cable premium and you still had to pay for channels you did not watch. What you were paying for was to have cable installed all over, and for the satellite time charged to the cable companies for the programming. It was far cheaper then, of course, and there were not as many channels, and they even made cable commercials about how great the system was. I recall CNN, Nickleodeon, and other channels having to fill in with film shorts due to the shows being shown were from over the air broadcasts which were geared to program/commercial times together making up the time slots. The adding of over the air broadcasts which did have commercials supposedly sponsoring the programs gave the greedy cable companies ideas like, hey, look at all that revenue we’re missing out on, and so appealed to the powers that be, that due to their rising costs(by then, all the cable lines had been strung, and so there was no longer any costs in doing that, so they lied), they could not function without running commercials. So, those in power said uncle and gave in to them and their revenue producing commercials, and so they started making beaucoup bucks, all gravy, for they had already installed all of the hardware by then. And with technology advancing, just like the consumer CD player costs went down, cable equipment for them too, went down, but not for us, the consumer. So, now we are forced to watch obnoxious ads that want you to buy a pill for you to get a hard on, and the endless inane auto commercials where they purposely increase the volume that blasts you out of your chair and assaults your ears. And I heard a CNN exec say that if you did not watch commercials you were stealing the programming, Did this guy forget that for years there were no ads on cable? So, now we get assaulted with crap we do not want to hear to sell us stuff we do not want, and still have to pay a premium for the hardware to watch it on(let’s not forget Comcast also has access to the programming now with its takeover of NBC). Obama was heard advocating talking to family during the commercials and was criticised, saying that these advertising agencies spend big money making these ads for the companies for getting their message out, and Obama was anti business. HA Obama can’t win for losing. There is a solution, use the MUTE button as I do. I have not heard a commercial for years, and as for watching, I have my latest book on my reading list to occupy my visual field during those times. See, Queenie, all is not lost. I understand the thing about Internet and cable, me, too, but what can you do, but sit back and suck on it, for me, at least, cuz’ there is only one cable company in the area.

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By DonSchneider, November 30, 2011 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

I wonder if the contents of the commercials ever entered the equation of decision
making on the ban or is it a successful slap at the importation of American
“Corporatism”  in general. In either case the Chinese score a big win for cultural
integrity !

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By Queenie, November 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

I gave up watching tv years ago because of the stupid commercials. And the fact that with cable I was paying for channels I never watched - like Fux Gnus.

Until the time we can get commercial free tv and the ability to choose a la carte style what I want to watch, I will never plug in to the dross that passes for entertainment these days.

Oh, but I still pay as if I were watching. In order to get high speed internet I pay to get basic cable. If I cancel basic cable I will have to pay more monthly.

These fuckers have us by the short and curly.

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By PatRM2, November 29, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

Television executives, marketing people, Madison Ave. types, all should conform to a “Don’t Speak” policy when they are attacked, or as an alternative to that, they should record their stupid remarks and try to work them into a sitcom.  You really can’t make this stuff up.  “The government is taking over our lives if they don’t let us try to sell you some junk you don’t need or can’t afford that we are trying to hawk over public airwaves, or airwaves that the public pays for out the backside via cable, satellite, etc.”  I love it.

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By Bisbonian, November 29, 2011 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For once, I applaud the Chinese government.  People, culture, over corporate profits?  What a concept.

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