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Copycat Syndrome Prevails on Chinese TV Print E-mail
by Ceci Zhao    Mon, Jul 7, 2014, 10:22 PM

Commentary Series by Ceci Zhao, Xiamen University School of Journalism student

XIAMEN, CHINA:  Chinese people have become used to watch variety shows, for there was nothing but only this kind of shows in China before, and as many different kinds of reality shows have been broadcast beyond imagination nowadays, we audiences get much wider choices. Hence, why the exotica can be accepted by nationals with such great speed, that is a big question. In order to obtain more extensive perspectives, I’ve interviewed several persons randomly.

Most believe that it is money and market that make reality shows grow just like mushrooms these years. However, a weak point they all put forward is that most shows lack in originality. What we all know is that many Chinese TV stations have introduced foreign shows from South Korea and Europe by buying their copyright at present. In other words, we really buy their ideas. One interviewee said she used to watch Day Day Up made by Hunan TV, but then she found there were too many parts even the theme song that were similar with several Japanese shows, so she gave up. Later I asked her what she depended on to judge the show had copied Japanese shows, just the time, she said yes. Maybe she is right.

Regardless of how suffered criticism reality shows get , they are still more popular now.

The most important reason is policies of government, such as market-oriented reforms and opening. Only if the environment permitting, citizens will be able to have right to do something. Otherwise, just like in North Korea, people could not broadcast programs freely, for their government controls this aspect is so tight. But permission doesn’t mean indulgence. So limited entertainment policy is necessary to the extend. Although it hurts someone’s interest, it plays a part in bettering common practice of reality shows after all. The second most significant reason should be the development of the economy. Making programs needs money, and plenty of money. With capital gradually accumulating these years, funds in advertisement has also gotten richer, especially on TV stations. Until now, many Chinese shows have been keen to be titled with at least one merchandise name, that finally benefit both the producers and advertisers assuredly. Actually it’s the best way for media to gain enough money to make items today, and maybe the only way. Besides, even though we buy shows from abroad that we have to spend significant amounts of money.

What’s more, technology has become much more important. For example, many shows have to shoot outdoors, which means camera equipment should be taken away easily. And as the range of motion expands, how to make the scenes clearer and steadier are a sticking point. Only technology remains innovated that the problem could be solved. Furthermore, some shows even apply aerial equipment for recording. We’ve got to ask for higher technical requirements. Without its support, we may lose a great deal of wonderful moments.

Another point is manpower, particularly in reality shows that must offer their audiences panoramic views. For instance, there are at least ten participants in Dad, Where are We Going, but each person needs at least two recorders to follow them when they go anywhere. So the show has to engage a large number of labors to join in it. Frankly speaking, the large number of nationals in China might be a superiority at this time.

In addition, as we Chinese people communicate with foreign people frequently, our mind has been more open and more broad. We can understand and accept various cultures and concepts different from mine. We are not that old-fashioned, instead we are eager for an active life. Of course, the pressure increasing in our daily life pushes us to find efficacious way to relax ourselves, too.

In a word, there are so many factors resulting in reality shows soaring in our country. Although some of them are copying others, they all adjust themselves to suit more people with local style more or less. As for the duplicate phenomenon, I have to say the copy is the first step to create at some time.

To read the entire article on Liberty Post, link here:

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