Celebrity crackdown in China

This policy limiting celebrity compensation is very far from the worst idea I have ever heard, particularly in an increasingly post-scarcity environment.

Chinese broadcasters and online entertainment sites should curb the amount of screen time given to celebrities, the country’s television regulator announced.

The new directive aims to crack down on celebrity hype, fake audience and click-through rates for a healthy growth of the industry, according to a statement issued by the National Radio and Television Administration on Friday. The statement by the radio and television watchdog also restated a commitment made by television and film companies that the salaries of all performers must not exceed 40 per cent of the total production cost while leading actors will have their pay capped at 70 per cent of total wages for the entire cast.

One of the reasons the shadowy evils of Hollywood are so powerful is their ability to gatekeep the money and fame they dole out to the desperate. Measures such as these being enacted by China will not eliminate the problem, but it will reduce some of its effects. And they’re pretty tame considering that a headline star can still be paid more than a quarter of the total budget.

It’s going to be interesting to see how China’s growing influence in the film industry modifies its practices.

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