TV Imports To Be Banned From Prime Time

Thai and other foreign-produced videos should only appear on Cambodian televisions after 9 pm in order to save “prime time” for Cambodian features, a televison executive said Thursday.

The decision to move foreign-produced programs, which came after a morning-long, closed-door meeting with Minister of Cabinet Sok An, puts television executives in a bind because there is not much money to produce authentic Cambodian fare during the rest of the programming day, Cambo­dian Television Assoc­ia­tion Acting President Mao Ayuth said.

“We talked a lot about reducing Thai films on television, but to have Cambodian stories we need to have a lot more money,” Mao Ayuth said.

A one-hour program costs at least $1,200, whereas translating and dubbing a foreign program costs only $100, said Mao Ayuth, who is also the director of Tele­vision of Kampuchea.

“We have to find a way to move foreign videos to broadcast them after 9 pm. The ‘prime time’ should be for Khmer features,” he said.

More viewers watch television between 6 pm and 9 pm every night than any other time slot, Mao Ayuth said. Most of the programming comes from other country’s productions, with Thai­land being the largest contributor.

For now, authorities hope to build a program for Khmer features up slowly, with help from the government, Mao Ayuth said. Sok An promised to help fund Cam­bodian-produced television shows, the television executive said.

For a start, Cambodian-produced programming will appear three to four times per week, Mao Ayuth said. But television executives hope to soon have Cambo­dian shows on at least five to six times per week, Mao Ayuth said.

For now, it is hard to compete with Thailand’s resources, which will mean Cambodian companies will have to support locally produced shows, Mao Ayuth said.

“Thai shows spend big money,” he said. “How many companies will buy advertisements on our shows?”


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