(Bloomberg) -- Days after Netflix Inc. made its China debut via a content licensing deal with the country’s biggest streaming service iQiyi, one of its original comedy series was removed from the site.
All three episodes of the animated comedy “BoJack Horseman,” which debuted on June 19, were taken off the streaming site, iQiyi said in an emailed response to Bloomberg queries Tuesday. “Adjustments need to be made to the content," iQiyi said, without elaborating. Netflix couldn’t immediately be reached for comment outside of regular business hours.
Last week’s removal of "BoJack Horseman" -- a popular dark comedy centering on a washed up half-man, half-horse sitcom actor -- is a setback to Netflix’s entry into China, one of the few countries it had yet to penetrate. China’s media regulator censors content broadcast on the Internet and has previously ordered streaming sites to take down some imported shows. In 2014, several TV dramas including Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.’s “The Big Bang Theory,” were taken off the air.
Netflix’s deal with iQiyi also covers television dramas, documentaries and variety shows. The documentary “Making a Murderer” and “Chef’s Table” series, both of which were released this month, were available on iQiyi as of Tuesday. Netflix and iQiyi also said they aim to release “Mindhunter” and the second season of “Stranger Things” simultaneously, according to a separate iQiyi statement.
Last week, China’s State Administration of Press, Publication Radio, Film and Television ordered services including Weibo, China’s Twitter, to stop broadcasting what it said was negative commentary in violation of government regulations.
Yang Xianghua, senior vice president of iQiyi, said in an interview in Shanghai last week, before "BoJack Horseman" was pulled, that in order to get content released concurrently in China, Netflix would need to leave enough lead time for Chinese authorities to censor the shows.
"The approval process is a bit long in China, takes at least a month," said Yang, who headed iQiyi’s licensing negotiations with Netflix.
With assistance from Jing Yang de Morel