STRIKE GOLD IN CHINA’S TV MARKET

gold panning, man striking it rich by finding the mother lode or at least a nugget or two

STRIKE GOLD IN CHINA’S TV MARKET

The gold rush mentality of China’s film market has overshadowed the huge potential of China’s TV market.  However, with the explosion of Chinese video and streaming sites – Chinese TV could be the next mother lode. So how do you break into China’s TV market?

CHINESE TV HAS MORE GOLDEN OPPORTUNITIES THAN FILM

gold panning, man striking it rich by finding the mother lode or at least a nugget or twoThe article “Why Can’t Hollywood Crack China’s Massive TV Market”  said “…for U.S. companies, the Chinese TV industry offers something lacking in the country’s Wild East-style movie business: stability.  There are hundreds more digital channels and online platforms. The picture is one of continuity and steady, not explosive, growth.”

China High Resolution Spend ConceptFirst, China’s internet giants which feed an insatiable Chinese audience are only getting bigger. “Alibaba’s Entertainment Affiliate Plans to Invest $7.2 Billion Over Next Three Years” let it be known that China’s internet giants (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) are spending big. Yet overseas content is limited to 30%. So instead of going through the back (overseas) door – a better idea is to break into China’s TV market through the front (domestic) door.

I described what makes great Chinese TV in my previous post “7 Steps to a Hit Chinese TV Series”. So how do you break into China’s TV market?

1. KNOW THE RULES

The article “Breaking into the Chinese TV market: strategies and obstacles”  reported that “Because overseas entities can’t hold a license to produce content for domestic screens, they need to form a joint venture or co-production arrangement with a Chinese partner.”  So your first order of business is to…

2. FIND A CHINESE TV PARTNER

Illustration depicting an illuminated neon sign with a trade show concept.Your first stop should be major TV markets such as:

The Shanghai TV Festival

The China International Film & TV Expo (CITV)

Sichuan TV Festival

Choosing a partner3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT PARTNER

Additionally, in my previous post “How to Find a Chinese Partner” your first step is to discover what are the top shows and who is producing them. You can see a 2017 list of China’s TV dramas here.

4. AVOID PIRATES

Pirate attacking with a knife a laptop computer as internet pirate. Can be used for web banners, marketing and promotional materials, presentation templatesEqually important, China has been notorious for its lack of IP protection. However, major Chinese players are working with the MPAA to protect American interests. In the article “MPAA Wins Copyright Infringement Case Against Chinese Streaming-Video Site”  mentioned that Baidu, Tencent and others’ incentives around IP violations have shifted. In the past some Chinese companies facilitated piracy.  But these companies “…are now more likely to play the part of a powerful ally to foreign rights holders.”  Find out who has a vested interest in American copyrighted shows and put them on your Chinese partner shortlist.

In my previous post “4 Ways to Beat the Chinese Censors” I mentioned that celebrities caught in drug scandals or broadcasting their sensitive political views have found themselves blacklisted. See my article for solutions to this problem.

Yes or no decisionLiving in Asia gave me a new perspective on the Chinese market. Unfortunately, you can’t understand the Chinese market from reading a book or article. But the next best thing is to choose a Chinese partner who can help you navigate the system.

If you’ve spent time in China, you know that sometimes “Yes” is really a polite “No”. What are your steep learning curve experiences with Chinese culture? Leave a comment below.

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