En­ter sports re­al­ity TV shows, po­ten­tial game-chang­ers

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By HUANG YING

Re­al­ity TV pro­grams that fea­ture sports are ex­pected to fig­ure promi­nently in the rapidly grow­ing va­ri­ety show mar­ket in China next year.

“Sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­na­tional sports events are sched­uled for next year, which would help ig­nite na­tion­al­is­tic sen­ti­ments and stoke pas­sion for sports among the gen­eral pub­lic,” said Peng Kan, re­search and de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor of Leg­end Me­dia, a Beijing-based con­sul­tancy.

He was re­fer­ring to events like the 2016 UEFA Euro­pean soc­cer cham­pi­onship, which will be held in France in June and July next year, and the 2016 Olympic Games, which will start in Au­gust in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

An­other fac­tor that could fa­vor sports re­al­ity shows is the tight­en­ing of reg­u­la­tions re­lated to celebrity re­al­ity shows, whose kitschy char­ac­ter now marks many TV chan­nels in the coun­try.

In July, the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Press, Pub­li­ca­tion, Ra­dio, Film and Tele­vi­sion re­leased a pol­icy guidance that re­al­ity TV shows should not tend to be overly vul­gar or loud.

The guidance came af­ter re­al­ity shows gained in pop­u­lar­ity and spawned a cul­ture of hack­neyed themes, mad scram­bling for top celebri­ties, es­pe­cially from the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, who com­manded as­tro­nom­i­cal pay pack­ets, and un­re­strained repli­ca­tion of South Korean TV pro­gram for­mats.

“Com­pared w ith en­ter­tain­ment celebri­ties, sports stars tend to keep a lower pro­file, but they also enjoy very high pop­u­lar­ity among the au­di­ences,” said Peng at a TV pro­gram fo­rum in Novem­ber.

Peng used to ad­vise a num­ber of TV shows and has sev­eral years of ex­pe­ri­ence in TV pro­duc­tion.

With sum­mer Olympic Games less than a year away, sports stars can keep au­di­ences en­grossed and guess­ing, he said.

More than 10 sports re­al­ity shows are ex­pected to be tele­cast in 2016. If they prove to be pop­u­lar, more would be pro­duced and aired.

“When it comes to sports re­al­ity shows, the choice of a spe­cific sport is crit­i­cal,” said Fu Ya­long, di­rec­tor of re­search at Ent­Group Con­sult­ing, a Beijing-based en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try con­sul­tancy.

How­ever, Peng has con­cerns re­gard­ing au­di­ence rat­ings as en­ter­tain­ment and sports get blended on TV.

Too much of sport­ing el­e­ments could erode the en­ter­tain­ment quo­tient of a show, and vice versa. “So far, au­di­ence rat­ings of sports re­al­ity shows are not very good,” he said.

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