Apple told TV Plus showrunners to avoid plots that might upset Chinese officials

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/10/14/cultural-diplomacy.html

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Related real question: I wonder, will China be blocking Disney+ for Winnie the Pooh content, or will Disney+ be omitting Winnie the Pooh from its online offering to avoid offending China?

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Such a curious cultural artifact.
I wonder what it means?

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TV Plus built-in censorship, very nice!

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I’m sure Disney will just geoblock the Winnie the Poo content for Chinese IP addresses, and that the authorised VPNs will do the same. Can’t offend that thin-skinned snowflake Xi.

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I was just reading some really smart and handsome person talk about this phenomenon…

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Will Pooh be a hit with fans? :thinking:

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I don’t want to be there when the Xi hits the fan!

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When you are playing in a walled garden it isn’t you who mans the walls. Corporate folks are not going to rush to shut themselves out of the Chinese market, it’s going to be necessary if they want to maintain the level of growth they saw in the past.

The best we can hope for in some cases is to get too big to easily block. The NBA is a good example, since there are something like 500 million NBA fans in China. The NBA felt like they could reverse their position because there would be too much pain for the Chinese government to block them now. However, the Chinese government can lean on the team owners to “retire” players that are critical of them.

It’s not surprising, as mentioned this has been going on for quite a long time. On a moral level it does upset me that companies bend a knee to an authoritarian, human-rights abusing government because they wanna make that sweet cash… but then again our own government is no angel.

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It’s amazing how across-the-board this self-censoring phenomenon is. It shouldn’t be surprising, though - this is what happens when media becomes corporatized, the corporations are gigantic entities with multiple businesses, and China is a last large, largely untapped market that’s either a source of current - or a hope for future - revenue. Games, movies, television, apps… I suppose books will be next. Although wthat’s already happened is books printed in China purely for the US market being shut down over content by Chinese censors. What’s next is US-printed books being censored to allow the parent company to continue doing business in China. And it’s not just about specific works being made more palatable for the Chinese market, but the whole company being made acceptable so it can operate in China. So Apple censors tv shows for its consumer electronics market, not (just) for the television market.

It’s just going to get worse.

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Well, those of us in the rest of the world have been subjected to US-based propaganda for most of a century (being given, for example, films about aliens as a proxy for commies) as part of Hollywood’s global export of its cultural agenda. A change of cultural agenda might be refreshing.

(Oh, did I need to say: /s? I do not want to watch films focus-grouped with Chinese politicos any more than I do films focus-grouped with accountants who run US production companies.)

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Is there any media generation org that doesn’t have these same requirements? I wager not.

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There’s a reason that Apple under Tim Cook is the most valuable company is the world, and it’s not because he’s better at product design or software than Steve Jobs was.

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It’s utterly unsurprising that mindless slow AI with no concept of morality or ethics beyond what humans enforce upon it every single day decided to cater to evil if it made them even a penny. The only purpose of tye machine’s existence is to make money in any way it can get away with. There are no limits except that which we enforce on then with government regulations.

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Yeah, it is a very American thing to be surprised by this. I think you just have to be inside that machine in order to not be aware that everyone has been doing this for the US market since the beginning of the media.

The overlap of the Venn diagram of “what the US allows” and “what China allows” is pretty damn bleak though, that’s for sure.

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“SVP of internet software and services Eddy Cue and SVP of internet software and services Morgan Wandell”

Sound like just the creative types to be making decisions like this.

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