Fake ratings and a scarcity of A-listers plague the entertainment industry

Business & Technology

Top business and technology news for April 5, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Exiled Chinese billionaire is member of Trump’s private club."

Caixin reports today on the troubles of the Chinese entertainment industry as production costs skyrocket even as low-quality programs flourish. One media executive in the report criticized what he called “fast-food productions” — TV series and films that pay exorbitant prices for a few overbooked actors to read off a formulaic script — for cutting corners and flooding the market with substandard products. One recent big-budget series called General and I (孤芳不自赏 gū fāng bù zì shǎng) apparently had such trouble getting studio time for its big-name actors that it hastily green-screened their performances together, leading 69 percent of users of the Chinese arts and culture website Douban to give it a one-star ranking. 

The obsession with making money in entertainment, rather than producing quality content or a dedicated fan base, has led to another problem. According to industry insiders, up to 90 percent of TV audience rating numbers are fake, so broadcasting fees have become inflated to the point that studios now pay up to 9 million yuan ($1.3 million) to distribute a single TV episode.