Last December, Guangdong Satellite TV Station introduced a change to their regular weather broadcasts. Instead of stuffy meteorologists or on-air reporters reporting the changes in the weather, they hired a group of undergraduate Chinese girls.
The group, called Pin-Ko Pie, is made up of nine college girls who have "modeling" experience. These nine girls take turns reporting the weather daily—basically one girl for every day of the week and two extra for emergencies. They do also act differently depending on holidays, change of seasons or special occasions. So far only seven out of the nine girls have been on the air. Their name is actually supposed be a play on the Chinese pronunciation of Apple Pie, which in Mandarin reads "Ping Guo Pai" (苹果派).
Conceived as a marketing ploy to get more viewers to watch Guangdong Satellite, the broadcast will have the girls show up on air dancing and doing cute/sexy poses in front of the camera, they would sometimes talk about weather and news related topics but in a sickly sweet voice.
The majority of the broadcast is pretty much just the girl on duty dancing and striking "cute" poses. Nearing the end of their minute, there would be a voice over or sorts, one would expect the voice over to be weather related but instead it's usually babble about what the girls like to do or how they are feeling. The only way to get a weather report from these broadcasts is to watch the screen graphics closely, and even then the weather is hard to decipher as the girls are very distracting.
Guangdong Satellites weather "reporting" Pin-Ko Pie group draws a lot of similarities to trends that originated from Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. One of the most recent examples actually is Next Media's Weather Girls from Taiwan.
This also isn't the first time something similar has happened in China. Back in 2003 Hunan Satellite station replaced their news anchor staff with "stars" and later that year Nanjing Satellite replaced their anchors with "younger prettier ladies".
The whole Pin-Ko Pie thing is of course not without controversy, there have been online complaints that Guangdong Satellite is selling "meng"(Chinese for "moé") instead of the reporting the weather. Online supporters for Pin-Ko Pie have come out and complained about how on air weather broadcasts are often boring and done really fast and that Pin-Ko Pie has been a fresh approach.
Kotaku reached out to Next Media, the media organization behind the funny Taiwanese news animation and the Taiwanese Weather Girls, to find out what they thought about Guangdong Satellite and Pin-Ko Pie. They responded with link to a press release they put out back in January:
This type of plagiarism is not progress; our weather girls are not only pretty ,but they also present the weather in a better way, put on different outfits, and report different meteorological terms for the audience.
Next Media's press release goes on to berate China on its lack of copyright protection laws and how Next Media's other works get reproduced and reused without permission.
Pin-Ko Pie weather reports air one minute after the hour starting from 8am to 11pm on Guangdong Satellite. If you can't access the channel and want to know what the weather is like in China you can always find the Pin-Ko Pie reports online on sites such as Youku and Youtube.
Pin-Ko Pie Youku search [Youku.com]
嫩模Pin-Ko Pie广东卫视播天气 娇滴念旁白制服抖双峰 [Yule.com.cn]
Pin-Ko Pie Baidu Wiki [Baidu]
(Top photo: Guangdong Satellite)