Edinburgh TV Festival: Co-productions could bring more intl. attention to China
The interest in China-UK television co-productions is growing, as can be seen as British media professionals gather at the annual Edinburgh Television Festival. The UK wants to tap into the massive Chinese market, and are also keen to bring Chinese stories to the global stage. Zhang He has more.
A special "China Focus" session is being held at the Edinburgh TV Festival, one of the most prestigious media events in the UK. It has attracted many TV producers who've shown a great interest in China.
ZHANG HE EDINBURGH, UK "China is a huge market for television content production, but for UK producers it is not the easiest market to break into. Now many of them are looking for opportunities to co-produce content with Chinese partners."
JEAN DONG CHAIRMAN, ZESPA MEDIA "The UK production sector altogether very much interested in working with China, but a lot of them felt they don't understand China enough as a country, especially the media industry. Like today we talked about what is the landscape of China. It is really good to give them some fundamental information about China in the media world and then tell them the opportunities out there."
British companies have made great inroads into China after the signing of China-UK TV Co-Production Treaty in 2016. British dramas such as "Sherlock" and "Downton Abbey" were introduced to China while UK's popular TV shows such as "Dancing on Ice" was also turned into a Chinese version.
PASCAL DALTON, VICE PRESIDENT ITV STUDIOS GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT "Chinese market is very important for ITV. We worked on numerous non-scripted and scripted projects in China, such as Dating in China for Dragon TV and Jiangsu TV. It is a very interesting dating format which involves single Chinese people with the blessing of their parents choosing a partner in the studio."
However, China is no longer seen as only a key buyer and a massive market to tap into. Instead, Chinese TV channels have shifted their focus to developing original formats and content for global distribution. Many have started to collaborate with UK partners on programs about China intended for the international market.
NICK CATLIFF, CO-FOUNDER LION TELEVISION "Now we worked a lot with Chinese partners. We worked with Phoenix Television. We worked with JSBC (Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation). We worked with CCTV, CICC and so on. We did a fantastic series called Chinese New Year live for the BBC, really ambitious programme. When we filmed different places during Chinese New Year and showed that actually the next day. It was nearly live for the BBC. So there is a huge amount of interest in contemporary China as well."
As TV co-productions with China grow, some really interesting stories about China could soon be heading to international audiences. ZH, CGTN, Edinburgh.