February 22, 2006

China Bans TV Toons That Include Live Actors

By Jonathan Landreth

BEIJING (Hollywood Reporter) - In a move that could benefit its nascent domestic animation industry, China has banned from television any new shows that combine animation with live actors.

In a February 15 notice, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television said it would no longer allow hybrid programs and ordered designated animation channels to rid themselves of programs that incorporate live-action performances.

One such film, "Babe," was earlier banned in China on the grounds that animals don't talk.

"Most of the so-called 'human-cast animation' in China's TV channels is not animation in a strict sense," a SARFT executive told the official Xinhua news agency two days after publication of the notice. "They are just ordinary human-cast TV dramas with a few special effects and techniques."

SARFT's notice said that these hybrid shows will "jeopardize the broadcasting order of home-made animation and mislead their development."

China has a population of 370 million children and teenagers. About 90% of the animation market is occupied by foreign producers from Japan, the U.S. and South Korea, Lu Shengzhang, dean of animation at the Communication University of China, said in a 2005 report from Beijing-based analysts China Media Monitor.

Beijing TV now airs a popular cartoon-human hybrid show from Japan and has not yet been told to cease its broadcast, Xinhua reported.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter