Micro-drama ‘Teacher, Don’t Run’ pulled offline for vulgar plot
Published: Mar 25, 2024 05:53 PM
A screencut of the micro-drama '<em>Teacher, Don't Run</em>'

A screencut of the micro-drama 'Teacher, Don't Run'

The micro-drama Teacher, Don't Run has been removed from all the online video platforms due to its vulgar plot and pornographic scenes, according to a recent update released by the China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA).

Currently, the series has been taken offline across all platforms such as Douyin, Kuaishou, Bilibili, and WeChat mini-programs that broadcasted the series.

This is just the latest effort to crack down on non-compliant and low-quality micro-dramas and maintain the healthy development of the online audiovisual market.

The CNSA said that they will strengthen communication and cooperation with online audiovisual platforms, aiming to enhance self-discipline, improve content review mechanisms, and ensure that the content of micro-dramas complies with national laws, regulations, and social norms. 

Meanwhile, they will increase supervision over illegal content, promptly deal with any violations, and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the vast number of internet users.

Zhang Yiwu, a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and professor at Peking University, told the Global Times during this year's two sessions that regarding to micro-drama production, relevant management should be improved and supervision should be strengthened . 

The China's National Radio and Television Administration initiated a one-month rectification campaign for online micro-dramas last November. 

With fast-paced and high-quality productions, micro-dramas have enjoyed an explosive growth in recent years and have become a global phenomenon as several Chinese micro-drama platforms have been expanding overseas, achieving noteworthy success.

ReelShort, a Chinese micro-series app, claimed a top three spot on the Apple App Store rankings in the US, UK, Canada and Australia in November. Additionally, it also secured a position among the top 10 on the entertainment app charts in 114 countries and regions.

According to the 2023-2024 China Micro-Drama Market Research Report released by iiMedia Research, the market size of micro-dramas reached 37.4 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) in 2023, with expectations to surpass 50 billion yuan in 2024 and exceed 100 billion yuan in 2027. 

Nevertheless, as this rapidly expanding market experiences unchecked growth, it is confronting challenges such as vulgar content and violence, highlighting the critical necessity for regulation.

Some insiders said the involvement of investors seeking excessive profits have led micro-series astray from the content-driven track.

Sun Chengjian, a senior researcher at the Chinese National Academy of Arts, said that some producers and platforms regard micro-series as an artistic endeavor with social responsibility, whereas others, aiming for immediate profits, see them merely as a means for commercial gain. 

"Within micro-series production, there are inclinations towards anti-intellectualism and vulgarity," said Sun. 

Compared to big-budget movie productions requiring investments of millions of yuan, micro-drama production cycles are shorter and require less investment, with some costing as little as four to five hundred thousand yuan. They can be filmed and produced within 30 days. Due to the low costs, many investors have been lured into the business. 

Usually consisting of 50 to 100 episodes, each lasting less than two minutes, these cost-effective productions employ rapid storytelling techniques. They are known for their intense theatricality and concise yet gripping plots, filled with a series of surprising twists and turns.

The initial episodes of a series are normally for free, while payment is necessary for accessing later episodes. The cost of watching an entire series typically ranges from tens to a couple of hundred yuan, occasionally surpassing the price of a movie ticket at a cinema.

According to reports, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) has been working on drafting detailed regulations for the creation, production, and content review of online micro-dramas.