The mainland's media watchdog will toughen its criteria for approving TV contest shows to combat the 'rising trend of vulgar content and bad taste' on the small screen, according to a mainland media report. Wang Taihua , head of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said measures should be taken to regulate the vulgar content and massive quantity of TV contest programmes, a People's Daily report said. Mr Wang said there were 'too many programmes, the area is too chaotic and some programmes have vulgar details'. He was speaking at an internal meeting attended by local media administration bureau chiefs. He was quoted as saying the agency would step up assessment and censorship of programmes. '[A system will be set up to] halt the trend in radio and television towards more vulgar and bad-taste content ... [and] especially to enhance the administration of TV contest programmes by controlling the overall quantity of such programmes and raising the quality,' Mr Wang said. TV contest programmes have become increasingly popular on the mainland since 2005, when Hunan TV's Super Girl show became a hugely profitable hit. Every network now has a prime- time contest show and reality programming popular overseas has been widely copied on the mainland. Analysts and viewers have criticised networks for relying on similar programme design and, in some cases, content in poor taste. Miao Di , a professor at the Communications University of China, said there were too many TV programmes that copied shallow overseas formats, but new rules would not achieve much. 'The agency, as an administrative department, must stand up and show its determination to regulate the market based on an outdated ideology of controlling the media,' Professor Miao said. 'But such measures will have little impact on improving taste because the programmes bring in huge profits and are popular with audiences.' Professor Miao also said such programmes avoided sensitive issues that could prompt a strong reaction from the government, so the regulatory measures should not be as harsh as those imposed on programmes related to politics or history. Tsinghua University professor Yin Hong suggested the agency would tighten control on programme applications and review content quality more carefully so as to cut the number of the shows on the market. 'TV stations are owned by the government and the survival of a programme is not fully decided by the market or audience as in other countries,' Professor Yin said.