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Ministry, TV stations agree on locally made programming block

Children watch an afternoon movie
Children watch an afternoon movie on television in their house earlier this year in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Ministry, TV stations agree on locally made programming block

In an effort to boost Cambodia’s entertainment industry, local television broadcasters will soon dedicate an hour of primetime programming to airing Cambodian-produced shows and films.

During a meeting with the Ministry of Information on Monday, TV station representatives agreed to broadcast locally produced films and shows – including dramas, news or game shows – from 7pm to 8pm daily.

The move is expected to reduce the monopoly of foreign shows on Cambodian TV, which, due to cheaper costs, has been increasingly saturated with dramas coming from countries like China, Thailand and the Philippines.

“Having Khmer programming in primetime will empower local producers and artists by showcasing their skills to other countries,” MoI Secretary of State and Cambodian TV Association chief Mao Ayuth said.

According to some broadcasters, allotting an hour of primetime would force their stations to bear potential financial loss, but the gains for the entertainment industry, they said, is worth it.

“A lot of us know that we’re going to lose some income since it’s during popular TV hours, but we’re happy to do it, because it will be good for the country,” said Southeast Asia Television head of programming Touch Bopha.

Over the past month, the Cambodian government has turned its focus on promoting the creation of locally produced shows and films.

Last week, Prime Minister Hun Sen suggested creating a fund to support Khmer film, theatre and art development.

The Ministries of Culture and Fine Arts, Information and Economy and Finance also met yesterday to discuss possible tax breaks for local films.

“We still have to report to the prime minister, but we’ve had a meeting and already, we have gotten some good results,” said Culture Minister Phoeung Sakona.

The Information Ministry and the stations have yet to agree on a start date for the new Khmer programming schedule, but ministry consultant Ouk Kim Seng that it should be within the next few months.

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