CETV's 'Spender' draws 400 mil viewers

Show distributed in China, U.S.

HONG KONG -- Reality series "Big Time Spender" drew 400 million international viewers during the program's first season, spokespeople for China Entertainment Television and its parent company Tom Group told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

The program, co-produced by China Entertainment Television and Sweden's Bringiton AB, shows Chinese contestants going on countywide shopping sprees to compete for HK$1 million ($129,000). It was broadcast in China via satellite channel CETV and terrestrial stations around the country, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

"Spender" received U.S. distribution through CETV's partnership with New York-based Chinese-language IPTV platform KyLinTV. It also was distributed by 21 cable, satellite and IPTV networks in Asia-Pacific, along with Qantas Airlines, as part of its inflight entertainment. Distribution in Europe is under negotiation.

CETV, a subsidiary of Hong Kong listed media joint venture Tom Group between Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd., was the first foreign satellite channel to obtain landing rights in the cable networks of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. It reaches hotels and foreign apartment compounds in other parts of the country via satellite.

It has a reach of 24 million viewers in China and Asia Pacific. But with "Big Time Spender," the channel began worldwide distribution of its programs, such as "Beauty First" and "Celebrity Kitchen," which were syndicated to Chinese stations in Zhejiang, Fujian, Liaoning, and Guizhou provinces, as well as North America.
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