BigBrother go­ing on­line in China

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICAS - By NIU YUE in New York

As the glob­ally popular re­al­ity TV show The Big Brother fi­nally launches its Chi­nese edi­tion, China’s on­line video por­tals are aim­ing to demon­strate that like tele­vi­sion they also have the ca­pa­bil­ity to make block­buster shows.

En­de­mol, the show’s de­vel­oper, is team­ing up with Youku Tu­dou, China’s big­gest on­line video plat­form, to pro­duce its Chi­nese ver­sion of the show. It is ex­pected to be avail­able on Youku, which has more than 500 mil­lion users, in early 2015 and run for 10 weeks. A joint team has been set up in Beijing for the pro­duc­tion.

Ede­mol, based in the Nether­lands, and Youku made the an­nounce­ment on Tues­day. Ar­jen van Mierlo, En­de­mol’s CEO of Asian op­er­a­tions, said in a state­ment that he was “thrilled to an­nounce this land­mark deal.”

Work­ing with on­line video sites “will al­low us to bring Big Brother to a young au­di­ence and de­liver the most im­mer­sive, in­ter­ac­tive and unique ex­pe­ri­ence to fans across the na­tion,” Mierlo said in the state­ment.

Big Brother, avail­able on CBS-TV in the United States, fea­tures a George Or­well-style en­vi­ron­ment. Par­tic­i­pants are locked in a 1984-like space where they are mon­i­tored by cam­eras and mi­cro­phones 24/7, and have to vote out other com­peti­tors to win the fi­nal prize. Big Brother is avail­able in more than 70 coun­tries this year.

En­de­mol used to part­ner with TV sta­tions to de­velop lo­cal pro­grams in China, but when the cen­tral gov­ern­ment put re­stric­tions on TV re­al­ity shows, En­de­mol joined on­line plat­forms.

In Oc­to­ber 2013, the cen­tral gov­ern­ment an­nounced that start­ing in Jan­uary 2015 it will al­low Chi­nese satel­lite TV sta­tions to li­cense just one for­eign pro­gram each year, mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult for

f‘ In act, the pen­e­tra­tion of TV is sta­bi­liz­ing at around 45-50 per­cent. In­stead, you are see­ing th­ese In­ter­net com­pa­nies de­vel­op­ing TV boxes.” JACK LIU SE­NIOR VICE-PRES­I­DENT OF NEW YORK-BASED CHARDAN CAP­I­TAL MAR­KETS

new for­eign shows to en­ter the world’s big­gest TV mar­ket.

“At this mo­ment, In­ter­net web­sites have some flex­i­bil­ity on TV shows,” said Jack Liu, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of New York-based Chardan Cap­i­tal Mar­kets, “and they have a lot of cap­i­tal to re­ally support their plan to be­come a pro­ducer.”

Evan Saun­ders, CEO of At­tract China, a Bos­ton­based company do­ing mar­ket­ing of Chi­nese peo­ple for US com­pa­nies, said he is very con­fi­dent of China’s video sites’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Saun­ders is work­ing with China’s In­ter­net gi­ant Ten­cent on a re­al­ity show fea­tur­ing celebri­ties from Tai­wan and the Chi­nese main­land that doc­u­ments their US trav­els. The show will air in De­cem­ber on Ten­cent. “Ten­cent brings their own teams.” he said, “It’s a true Chi­naAmer­ica ef­fort.”

Video por­tals in China have been de­vel­op­ing their own shows to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from com­peti­tors and avoid high copy­right fees from ex­ter­nal con­tent providers. The fee could be as high as hun­dreds of thou­sands of US dol­lars for just one episode.

Video sites’ in-house pro­duc­tions, such as Hip Hop Of­fice Quadrate from Youku and Ten­cent’s Talk Show Ev­ery Night have drawn mil­lions of clicks and demon­strate their pro­duc­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties

Pro­duc­tions of popular TV shows like The Voice of China, a Chi­nese ver­sion of NBC’s The Voice, and Chi­nese Idol, a Chi­nese ver­sion of the Amer­i­can Idol show, are costly and can only be af­forded by a few chan­nels in China, whose air- time slots are al­ready squeezed.

De­spite strong growth po­ten­tial, it re­mains un­clear whether the In­ter­net will be­come the “big­gest brother” in peo­ple’s me­dia ex­po­sure, Liu said.

. “We have had this talk for many years, and TV still dom­i­nates 50 per­cent of peo­ple’s me­dia ex­po­sure.” said Liu “In fact, the pen­e­tra­tion of TV is sta­bi­liz­ing at around 45-50 per­cent. In­stead, you are see­ing th­ese In­ter­net com­pa­nies de­vel­op­ing TV boxes.” Lu Hui­quan in New York con­trib­uted to this story.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.