China Tightens Controls on Foreign Video Content

November 17, 2015, 4:21 PM UTC
The Big Bang Theory
LOS ANGELES - APRIL 9: "The Love Spell Potential" -- When the girls'™ trip to Vegas falls through, the guys invite them to play Dungeons & Dragons, causing Sheldon and Amy'™s relationship to take an unexpected turn, on THE BIG BANG THEORY, Thursday, May 9 (8:00 - 8:31 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured left to right: Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Mayim Bialik, Jim Parsons, Melissa Rauch and Simon Helberg (Photo by Monty Brinton/CBS via Getty Images)
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Chinese regulators are tightening licensing rules in a fresh move to exert control over the available online video content in the country, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Currently, Chinese internet companies are allowed to stream only 30 percent of their content from abroad. But companies often use a legal loophole: if they physically import foreign content, they have the right to post it online without contributing toward their quota count.

The new rules, which the Journal reports will be detailed next month, stymies that workaround by limiting media licenses and requiring companies to disclose if they plan to post physically imported content online.

American media, like “The Big Bang Theory” and “House of Cards,” have gained popularity in China over the past few years, with the former, an Emmy-award-winning show about nerdy scientists, being streamed more than 1.3 billion times in the five years ending in 2014. But by the beginning of this year, Chinese regulators began to show qualms about the popularity of foreign shows, banning four of the most popular American TV shows from all streaming sites.