Leading Chinese and UK television producers fostered new relationships and collaborated on creative TV pitches at the third Pact UK China Creative Exchange programme and other trade visits during March.
Chinese companies including Beijing Television Station, Bilibili and Shanghai Animation Films Studios mixed with UK indies, heads of development and commissioning editors for the Exchange - an innovative day of networking, practical exercises, and workshop sessions.
The event, supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, saw Chinese and UK attendees form four different teams to develop a format idea based on a ‘commissioning brief’ set by training organisers, Grand Scheme Media. Participants also had plenty of opportunity to network during the day.
Following the event, Chinese delegates met with indies across the UK to share ideas and forge new collaborations.
Pact’s Director of Business Development and Global, Dawn McCarthy-Simpson commented:
“China is now the second biggest TV market in the world, behind the US, and we want to make sure UK indies have the right skills, training and connections to make the most of the huge opportunity that presents. What’s so great about this exchange is that it brings UK and Chinese talent face to face to discuss ideas and what we have in common, but also to learn about differences which may be fertile ground for new creative collaborations.”
The Chinese executives were all selected from top broadcasters and production companies, and are in positions which have either programming decision making responsibility or can influence and get access to TV commissioners in China.
Chinese delegates want to gain a first-hand experience of UK TV production, and also to spend some quality time with UK production companies to build meaningful relationships and develop projects for the future. Pact believes that to build meaningful relationships, there needs to be a deeper level of understanding of each other’s cultures and working practices.
CCTV Documentary International Media Co., Ltd. (CDIMC) was established by China International Television Corporation and started its business in April 2015. CDIMC is a factual content provider committed to investment and development in the production, development, copyright sales and merchandising of documentaries. CDIMC acts as a documentary production arm of CCTV. It satisfies CCTV’s documentary production needs, while it also markets its products to other multi-media outlets and operates on a full supply chain.
In recent years, CDIMC has produced more than 20 excellent documentaries including Aerial China I, The Nation’s Greatest Treasures, China Reinvents Itself, China’s High Speed Railway, Su Dongpo, Chinese Capitan, Memory in West Fujian, and Back to the Forest. It also focused on the production of CCTV9’s key programmes such as Dream Road, A Bite of China III, China’s Mega Projects II -III, and Every Treasure Tells a Story.
CCTV is the national television station of the People's Republic of China, and a public institution at the vice-ministerial level. It is also a news and public opinion institution. Among its channels, CCTV-7 is a professional one that broadcasts agricultural programs. It is an important front in the work of agriculture, rural areas and farmers, reflects the aspirations of the people at the bottom and contributes to the construction and publicity of agriculture.
Shanghai Media Group or SMG is one of China’s largest media and cultural conglomerates, with the most complete portfolio of media and related businesses. SMG has 15 cable and satellite TV networks, 13 radio frequencies, 15 subscription-based digital pay TV channels, 8 newspapers and magazines and transmits signals via airwaves, cables, satellite and IPTV. On the content side, SMG is a leading powerhouse in China in the production of TV and films, animation and documentaries.
LIC is the largest private documentary/factual production and syndication company in China. Founded in 1993, it has now established its giant force in TV production and distribution, advertising, publication and new media across the country. LIC operates TV time slots on several syndicated networks of more than 400 Chinese TV channels, with audience coverage of over one billion people. Its quality products cover history, military, human interest, natural history and reality shows, broadcasted on CCTV, BBC, ARTE, NDR, RAI, YLE, ABC, ATV, PTS and Nat Geo. LIC is the winner of hundreds of awards domestically and internationally.
The Central News Documentary Film Studio is a professional institution that produces documentary films in China. It is a direct subordinate to CCTV. As an influential film and television product production agency, CNDFS is committed to becoming an influential film and television cultural institution in China and abroad.
Huang Wei is a professional documentary director and producer in China. She has worked for CCTV for 18 years, during those years, she worked as journalist, director, editor-in-chief and senior producer. As one of the leading directors, she produced the hit documentary series The Rise of Nations, which was a huge sensation in China. In 2016, she resigned from CCTV and focused on making documentaries.
Beijing Yohou mutual entertainment culture communication co., Ltd was founded in 2017 by Ouyang Changlin, a leading figure in the Chinese media industry and former President of Hunan Broadcasting Station, the company is the first domestic PGC creative production alliance.
The company is composed of a high-quality independent creative research and development team, cross-border top experts, outstanding production teams with distinctive features, and super marketing. It accurately connects Alibaba's new retail platform and focuses on the innovative development and operation of commercial content products in the era of intelligent communication.
Based in Beijing, CICC (China International Communication Center) is an international media company. Founded in 1994, they are the longest-established co-production documentary company in China. Since 2003, together with international broadcasters, they have co-produced and broadcast over 350 hours of high quality factual programmes, showcasing the many faces of China. As a leading Chinese documentary company, they are proud to have worked with more than 50 partners including broadcasters and production houses from over 16 countries and have created outstanding documentary series that have been broadcast around the world and well-received by audiences, such as China From Above (National Geographic), How China Works (Discovery Channel), Chinese New Year - The Biggest Celebration On Earth (BBC) and View on China from Japanese Stars (BS Asahi), etc. In addition to co-funding high quality factual Specials and series about China, they also provide location and research support to international production teams, helping with access, permissions, and logistics on the ground - making them the perfect "one-stop shop" partner for Chinese programme ideas.
The Shanghai Animation Film Studio Co., Ltd, also known as SAFS, founded in April 1957, is China’s oldest animation studio, boasting the country’s largest repository of animation as well as the most animation copyrights. Home to over 500 original animated pictures, including celebrated classics such as The Monkey King, and the special Water-ink animated short Where is Mama, the black cat animation series Mr. Black, and the very well known animated TV series Calabash Brothers and Pre-school animation Dear-Tutu. The Studio specialises in 2D animation, but also 3D animation, Water-ink, stop-motion and cutout animation.
BTV Documentary Channel is a Chinese documentary channel at national level. It is the first professional documentary channel that broadcasts with HD format and 5.1 surround sound in regular timeslots. As one of BTV’s 11 primary channels, it has covered all major cities over China. It airs 5.5-hours of premiere content on a daily basis, with a rolling broadcast wheel of 24 hours every day. In order to prepare for the Beijing Winter Olympic in 2022, the main focus of its channel has turned to sports, especially ice & snow sports and competitive sports.
Atom Media, China's leading TV production company, was founded by the famous producer Yu Hangying. Its experienced team has produced a list of high-quality programmes, including reality-variety show Running Man 1&2, outdoor reality show 24 Hours and Back to Youth, factual entertainment show Daddy is Back, Dream of China, talk show Go Wardrobe and game show The Game of Superheroes.
Bilibili, founded in 2009, is currently the largest online video platform among the youth in China. Every day, more than 30 million people watch videos on the Bilibili website. The average age of users in Bilibili is 17; about 75 per cent of users are under age 24. Users can share their feelings about the video via Danmaku.
This interactive approach helps the youth to find and support their favorite entertainment, and it has created a unique culture as well as a new life style in China. In recent years, video content has developed from single ACG (Animation, Comic, and Game) to themes including technology, fashion and entertainment, to meet young people’s multiple needs. Now, Bilibili has completely integrated into young people’s spiritual life in China.
In March 2019, it had two projects on which it hoped to work with UK companies: Barbecue Life and History of Those Things. Barbecue Life is a documentary that takes barbecue as the starting point and records the stories of people. History of Those Things is an innovative and avant-garde documentary, presenting real history in a new way, historical stories are told through real interpretation, including tribute to the film, rap, entertainment and other modes of integration.