China's top TV regulator limits performers’ payment to not exceed 40% of total show cost
Published: Feb 11, 2022 04:14 PM
The National Radio and Television Administration File photo: CFP

The National Radio and Television Administration File photo: CFP

China's top television regulator will regulate the payment mechanism to better manage and supervise the television industry, as illegal acts such as tax evasion and sky-high payments have been complained about and triggered wide attention in society.

The National Radio and Television Administration on Thursday released a notice to further regulate the TV show industry, regulating that performers' total payment must not exceed 40 percent of a show's production cost, while the principal performers' payment shall not exceed 70 percent of the performers' total pay.

The authorities will also strengthen the verification and registration mechanism of contracts related to performers' payment. A standardized and unified model text of payment contract will be promoted in the industry, according to the plan.

The regulators will continue to optimize the market environment and establish a whole-process supervision mechanism, strictly handling illegal acts such as "yin yang contracts," which refers to an illegal practice in which studios make two contracts - one to be disclosed to the authorities and the other to be unreported to obscure the actor's real pay.

Several Chinese stars were involved in the illegal practice, including actress Zheng Shuang, who was ordered to pay 299 million yuan ($46 million) in fines, taxes and penalties for tax evasion.

The limiting of TV performers' payments quickly gained over 180 million clicks on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. Some netizens called on the industry to use the money to better improve TV shows' quality rather than paying huge sums to hire well-known actors or actresses to win more attention. 

"Let real performers shine," one netizen wrote, showing support for the decision and calling for an improvement of TV show quality.

The regulators will also support the private TV industry to form 10 to 15 enterprises capable of making good TV dramas during the 14th Five Year Plan, according to the plan.