Authorities carry out rectification of unhealthy online micro dramas
Published: Nov 15, 2023 11:49 PM
The China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) issued an article on Wednesday stating that since 2022 China's National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) has continued to carry out the rectification of online micro dramas and strengthen standardized management.

The article pointed out that starting from November in 2022, the NRTA focused its efforts within a period of three months to organize and carry out special rectification work aimed at mini-program online micro dramas and achieved positive results. As of February 28, a total of more than 25,300 micro dramas, totaling 1,365,004 episodes, containing pornographic, vulgar or violent content have been taken down. And 2,420 mini-programs containing content against the rules have been removed. 

"The market for online micro dramas has shown explosive growth in recent years. Micro dramas have many characteristics, such as low production costs, fast capital turnover, large network traffic, and strong liquidity, making this industry highly favored by investors. Explosive growth has brought about a lot of chaos, and content trends such as novelty, vulgarity, violence, and pornographic content have seriously damaged the online content ecology," Zhang Peng, a film researcher at Nanjing University's National Research Center of Cultural Industries, told the Global Times. 

A netizen views a performance by two web hosts on Douyin, a Chinese short video platform. Photo: IC

A netizen views a performance by two web hosts on Douyin, a Chinese short video platform. Photo: IC

In the past two years, relying on the transformation of film and television brought by the internet, micro dramas have gradually become more and more popular. At the same time, a new trend has emerged among these micro dramas, "mini-program" micro dramas. These so-called mini-program micro dramas refer to micro dramas that usually are released on short video platforms and are then moved to independent mini programs for users to watch.   

In addition to requiring users pay for on-demand viewing, they seek various means of profit such as advertising and promotion by agencies. Meanwhile, issues also arise with their popularity. For instance, the content they provide are notably homogenized mini-program micro dramas. The sudden rise in micro dramas has magnified the need for a strict and comprehensive review system.

"It is very necessary for the country to increase governance in this field. More precise policies, more in-depth platform supervision, and more normal industry governance are needed to allow this emerging cultural industry to develop in a healthy and orderly manner," said Zhang.

After the end of the special rectification work, the NRTA normalized its management of online micro dramas. 

While it requires related departments to establish biweekly reporting and a regular announcement mechanism, it also aims to establish a "blacklist" mechanism for online micro dramas. 

Online audio-visual platforms are required to fulfill their main responsibilities, report in a timely manner online micro dramas that violate the rules, and add them to the "blacklist," which will be shared with other platforms, so that through joint efforts, the contents will be removed from all platforms. 

For the next step, the NRTA will step up efforts in management and refine management measures by various means. 

Multiple Chinese social media platforms, including WeChat, Douyin and Kuaishou, have taken action to crack down on micro-dramas that are of low quality or contain content that is against the rules.    


Douyin announced on Thursday that a total of 119 illegal micro-dramas in mini-programs have been removed recently and 1,188 Douyin accounts have been penalized for promoting these micro-dramas.


The announcement stated that the platform will guide rectification of mini-programs or accounts regarding content and behavior against regulations. Those who refuse to make corrections will be penalized accordingly. Penalties include but are not limited to removing the dramas, and banning or blocking accounts.


Kuaishou issued a special management announcement on Tuesday as well, saying it has removed more than 10 micro-dramas containing content that is in violation of regulations. At the same time, 13 accounts have been penalized accordingly based on the degree of violation.


Previously, on November 10, WeChat issued an announcement saying that through recent inspections and audits on the platform it was found that some micro-drama and mini-programs had failed to register for program compliance or contained content that was in bad taste. The platform has removed this content and penalized the related accounts.

For example, it will speed up the formulation of the detailed rules for the creation, production and content review of online micro dramas.

The mini-program micro dramas will be included in daily organizational management. Also, the CNSA will carry out daily monitoring of online micro dramas. Authorities also plan to strengthen creative planning and guidance, and continue to help content creators to create high-quality works.