By YingTing Tseng (YXT5059)
Are you watching a TV show or a commercial? In many developed countries, product placement is not a new topic to discuss. However, in Taiwan, the fine line in between is now no longer existed, on the contrary, it is legal to sponsor in most TV programs.
A news article, Culture Minister Urges Soft Power Boost, emphasizes the recent policies of the Minister of Culture, Lung Ying-Tai 龍應台:
“We cannot compete with China in terms of capital investment. We should think about how to maintain our competitiveness via other policies,” Lung said. The National Communications Commission, for example, relaxed regulations on placement marketing last year to allow product placement and the sponsorship of TV programs, except for news and children’s shows. The commission expected the measure to stimulate investment in local productions and market Taiwan’s TV content both domestically and overseas. Lung said the government should assess the limitation and relaxation of product placement policies so that local TV programs can improve their content.
Therefore, my thought on the current Taiwanese media system reflects three basic phenomenon, they are enterprise collectivization, digitization, and international capitalization.
The first phenomenon is enterprise collectivization. According to Forbes, The Richest People in America, among the top fifteen rankings, only Warren Buffet and Michael Bloomberg owns media; in other words, the ratio is two out of fifteen. However, one third of the fifteen richest people in Taiwan own media. People like Tsai Eng-Meng (Net Worth $8,000M) own four television stations, four newspapers, and two magazines. And Cher Wang (Net Worth $3,050M), the co-founder and chairperson of HTC Corporation, owns a television station. There are other factors showing the high density and concentrated media system in Taiwan. As an (tiny) insular country, there are 1,260 news agencies, 63 television stations, 178 radio stations, 2273 newspapers, and 7088 magazines. So this also reflects why Taiwanese media is easy to be manipulated by business people (profit-oriented).
The second phenomenon is digitization. Several years ago, many of us assumed the television industry is dying with the commercial, but we underestimate the power of digitization. Today, people use YouTube, Hulu and Netflix to replace or skip the tradition of sitting in front of a television; Internet becomes the hub now. College students are no longer the couch potato, with a laptop, a tablet, or a smart phone, we can access to any information online we like without leaving our bed (a bad example). Moreover, digital convergence is the next trend. Although this part requires more technologic supports and governmental regulations, it is happening.
Last but not least, the third phenomenon is international capitalization. GTV in Taiwan is one of the most representative television situations. GTV specializes in drama, so this station plays 12 hours of Korean drama and 12 hours of Taiwanese and Chinese drama daily. The mainstream timeslots (from seven to night) are all reserved for Korean programs. Ever till I realize that a Korean investment ties up closely with GTV, I wound not consider the influences of it.
Taiwanese government started a ministry, The Ministry of Culture, in 2012, and this ambition is to be the next South Korea that its soft power can empower the whole world. And I really look forward seeing the changes.