MIPTV: BBC Worldwide Signs Content Deals in China

5:47 AM PST 04/07/2014 by Stuart Kemp

The U.K. public broadcaster has sold natural history and factual programming to Hong Kong's TVB and Chinese streaming-video giant Tencent.

LONDON -- BBC Worldwide, the U.K. public broadcaster's commercial money-making arm, has clinched several wide-ranging content agreements for greater China.

The deals were signed with TVB, the primary free-to-air TV broadcaster in Hong Kong, and Tencent, an Internet services provider in China for predominantly natural history and factual programming.

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The deal with TVB and BBC Worldwide will start in the second quarter of this year and aims to give viewers in Hong Kong shows such as How to Build a Planet, where Richard Hammond explores how our planet came to be and Supergiant Animals, a series tracking the adventures of Steve Backshall as he searches for the biggest creatures on the planet.

Also incorporated in the deal is Deadly Pole to Pole, where Backshall continues his search for the deadliest animals from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

The pact marks the first time Tencent has acquired factual programs from BBC Worldwide.

Over 60 natural history and factual titles will be available on Tencent's VOD service, including Frozen Planet, a seven-part series that focuses on life and the environment in both the Arctic and Antarctic and Penguins -- Spy in the Huddle, a season of shows that uses the latest spy cameras to give viewers a new perspective on their behavior and extreme survival tactics.

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"We are extremely excited about the two new deals," said Pierre Cheung, vp, general manager Greater China for BBC Worldwide. "TVB has been a trusted partner of BBC Worldwide for many years now, and this deal has cemented our relationship. With Tencent, we've had immense success with drama titles in the past, with series one of Primeval raking in its highest ratings at eight million views by the end of March 2014. Now we are eager to explore new ground with Tencent and expand our offerings on their VOD service."

Suman Wang, chief editor of Tencent Video added: "With the growing demand for factual content coupled with BBC Worldwide's reputation for quality programs, we are confident that the natural and factual titles will receive the same or even greater traction with our users."

No financial details were disclosed.

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