China cracks down on foreign set-top box programming

If you’re in mainland China, and you love to stream foreign programming, you’re life’s been getting harder lately. First off, Chinese regulators recently closed a loophole allowing companies to skirt the country’s requirement that no more than 30% of a platform’s streaming content come from abroad. (Programming that was imported physically – say, on a DVD – and then uploaded to streaming services was not counted in the tally. Now it is.) Perhaps more threateningly, the state’s top regulatory agency, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, or SAPPRFT (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?) has banned 81 popular third party apps, many of which enable Chinese users to access foreign channels on their set-top boxes. Alibaba’s Tmall Box, which dominates the Chinese set-top box market, was among the first devices to have its access to the 81 apps blocked.

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