Doors May Be Opened Soon to US TV Shows

The country's TV broadcasting sector is likely to open the door to foreign entertainment companies in the immediate future, as negotiations between the industry watchdog and two US media giants reach their final stage.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television on Wednesday stated its negotiations with AOL-Time Warner and News Corp may be finalized soon with a happy ending.

The administration's head, Xu Guangchun, had earlier said that the two companies will be allowed to directly send TV programmes to residents in some parts of South China's Guangdong Province.

In return, the two have to guarantee that an English language channel, run by China Central TV (CCTV), will be broadcast and accessible to all American TV watchers.

The negotiations have been going on for quite some time, according to an administration official, who took part in the negotiations.

If the plans are finalized, it will be a major breakthrough in the country's TV broadcasting sector, as foreign companies are currently banned from entering this field.

Although more than 20 overseas TV channels, including HBO, Discovery, Star TV and CNBC, can be received by mainland hotels with three stars or above, this would be the first time that the average resident will legally be able to receive overseas channels at home.

AOL-Time Warner and News Corp will mainly provide entertainment-related programmes, according to the official, while Channel 9, of CCTV, is a newly launched English language channel that mainly provide news and cultural programmes.

Guangdong Province, where the two are expected to be broadcast first, is one of the most wealthy regions in the country, neighbouring Hong Kong and Macao.

Residents there are expected to receive numerous TV programmes, including those from Hong Kong and Macao, more than most other mainland people.

(China Daily 09/06/2001)

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