BEIJING, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- China's media watchdog has urged the country's video streaming websites to get licenses to run foreign films and TV series, threatening to ban all unregistered broadcasts.
Video streaming sites must get publication licenses for imported films and TV series if they want to broadcast, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) said in a statement Friday.
"Without a publication license, no overseas films or TV series are allowed to run online," it said.
As traditional television channels rarely invest in airing trending foreign series due to supervision barriers, budget concerns and a programming agenda that favors domestic products, video streaming websites have been a staple provider of popular foreign TV dramas for Chinese fans.
The order means Chinese websites will have to get an online audio and visual program dissemination license to provide general video streaming services, and then obtain publication licenses for foreign films and TV series on a work by work basis.
The statement also urged websites to register all foreign films and TV series they were running at media administrative departments by March 31, 2015. Works not on official records will be taken off starting on April 1.
"We encourage online audio and visual program providers to import, in an appropriate amount, cinema and TV works that are healthy, well-made and showcase good values so as to absorb fine cultural achievements across the globe and meet people's increasing spiritual and cultural demands," SAPPRFT said.