Netflix’s critically acclaimed animated show BoJack Horseman got booted off China’s iQiyi streaming service just two days after it was made available on the platform.
All episodes of the animated comedy were taken off the site on June 21 after debuting to Chinese subscribers on June 19. In an emailed response to Bloomberg on Tuesday, iQiyi explained that “Adjustments need to be made to the content.” The company did not elaborate what those adjustments are nor provided BoJack’s return date to the service.
iQiyi’s move is a blow to Netflix’s ongoing attempts to gain a foothold in the region. Last year, the Los Gatos, CA-based company abandoned plans to launch its own platform in China at least for the foreseeable future due to regulatory challenges. Instead, it made a licensing pact with iQiyi in April to carry its original programming in the Middle Kingdom.
The deal with iQiyi was expected to include high-quality dramas, animated series, documentaries and variety shows for the 500 million monthly users of its ad-supported video service.
However, Bojack’s sudden removal wasn’t entirely surprising. China’s media regulator have a history of pulling imported shows with no explanation. In 2014, several TV dramas including Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.’s The Big Bang Theory, The Good Wife, NCIS and ABC’s legal drama The Practice were all taken off the air.
Just last week, Deadline reports three platforms were also ordered to stop live-streaming video, including Weibo.
So far, only BoJack Horseman got the boot. Both Making a Murderer and Chef’s Table which were also released this month are currently still available on iQiyi. The Chinese platform also said they are still planning to release Mindhunter and the second season of Stranger Things simultaneously.
Whether or not there will be any sort of outcry over BoJack’s removal from the service remains to be seen. Apparently, the animated flick built a cult fanbase online, with Chinese social media users regularly sharing memes and screenshots from the show.