China’s TV Regulator Moves to Deter Inflated Audience Data

China’s top media regulator on Monday issued new regulations aimed at deterring companies and networks from manipulating their viewership data.

In a document titled “Regulations on Statistics Management of the Radio and Television Industry,” the National Radio and Television Administration said that institutions and individuals should not interfere with or inflate viewership statistics. If falsified data is detected, representatives from the companies or institutions involved will be “held responsible,” the statement said.

The new regulations will come into effect on May 5, according to the administration, which did not elaborate on what might have prompted the new policy.

Also on Monday, the state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported that official viewership data indicates that Chinese audiences spent more time watching TV in the first quarter of this year, coinciding with extensive home isolation and quarantines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Average daily TV-watching time was up by 22.7% from the previous quarter, according to the administration, and dozens of series, documentaries, and variety shows received high audience ratings over this span.


– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone