China's Internet loses The Big Bang Theory, US TV shows

The shows had been licensed to China's top video sites, leaving questions over why they were pulled

Sohu has stopped showing "The Big Bang Theory."

Sohu has stopped showing "The Big Bang Theory."

Chinese online video sites were forced to pull the plug on The Big Bang Theory and three other US TV shows over the weekend on orders from the nation's regulators, leaving Internet users scratching their heads over why the shows were targeted.

The four shows, including The Good Wife, NCIS and The Practice, had originally been among the licensed programs offered by some of China's top video sites, but were mysteriously taken down.

On Monday, the CEO of Sohu, one of China's largest providers of online videos, signalled that Chinese regulators had stepped in, but declined to elaborate.

"Of course, I cannot comment on what happened," said Sohu CEO Charles Zhang in an earnings call. But he called the shutdown "a standalone event," adding that China's policy on U.S. TV shows "was not tightening up."

China's other top video sites, including Youku Tudou, declined to comment. But a clampdown on US. TV shows would be a major blow to the companies. The sites are spending millions to legally offer hit US TV shows as a way to draw in Chinese consumers. In Sohu's case, US TV shows make up less than 10 per cent of its video traffic, according to Zhang.

China is already notorious for its vast online censorship that routinely blocks anti-government and sexual content. Recently, the nation's authorities have launched a crackdown against online porn. One of China's top Internet companies, Sina, was later found to have posted pornographic content, and was forced to publicly apologize.

But why China has targeted The Big Bang Theory - a sitcom revolving around four nerds and their girlfriends - is unknown. The country's top online video sites are showing US TV shows with far more violence and sexual content. Among them is House of Cards, which features a storyline about corrupt political dealings with China, and The Walking Dead, a show about a zombie apocalypse.

China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television could not be reached for comment.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentregulationinternetvideoInternet-based applications and servicesSohu

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?