BEIJING: Chinese authorities have banned mass audience voting on TV shows and ordered that such programs be moved from primetime schedules.

More than 400 million people reportedly watched the finale of Super Girls 2005, China's version of American Idol, with several million viewers voting via SMS.

Analysts say the new rules issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television reflect Beijing's concern over such shows' influence and the huge numbers of viewers they attract.

SARFT says it wants "scientific judging standards" and will ban voting by cellphone or online. Voting will only be allowed among live audiences.

The crackdown comes ahead of next month's Communist Party congress, to appoint senior leaders and set out major policies.

Data sourced from Business Week (online); additional content by WARC staff