China Welcomes Foreign TV

25 November 2004

HBO, Nickelodeon and National Geographic are just some of the globe's top TV networks eager to benefit from China's amended laws on media investment.

Under new rules coming into effect next week, Chinese media companies can now team up with foreign TV networks to employ their program-developing skills or actual content itself for use on digital television channels designed for the Chinese audience.

Foreign media networks can own up to 49 percent of program production tie-ups, something previously closed off to non-Chinese companies.

China's administration is keen to develop the country's digital television infrastructure, commentators say, and foreign investors are equally keen to tap into this potentially money-spinning market.

Ad revenue generated from print and TV was estimated at $18.7 billion (€14.22bn; 9.95bn) last year, and is predicted to soar year-on-year for the immediate future.

Guangdong was previously the only province that allowed foreign media networks, and that was strictly kept to only four operators.

China Central Television (CCTV) and Shanghai Media Group (SMG), the nation's top two media firms, are the two main players developing China's digital platforms and will host the new channels.

Says Ward Platt, Asia managing director for the National Geographic Channel, buoyant from the creation of World Geographic channel in partnership with CCTV: "As far as I know, just about everybody is talking to SMG or CCTV as well as some others like that."

Data sourced from People