China's CCTV, BBC Worldwide Deepen Cooperation on Natural History Content


A memorandum of understanding between the commercial arm of the BBC and documentary channel CCTV9 is expected to yield at least two major project launches in the next six months.

BBC Worldwide, the commercial division of British public broadcaster BBC, has signed a framework deal with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV's documentary channel CCTV9 to expand their collaboration in the field of natural history content.

The cooperation is expected to yield at least two major project launches in the next six months, the partners said Monday.

A memorandum of understanding signed by the partners is focused on BBC Worldwide's premium factual content brand, BBC Earth. It was signed at the Sichuan TV Festival in Chengdu by Liu Wen, managing director of CCTV9, and Pierre Cheung, vp and general manager of BBC Worldwide's Greater China unit.

The two broadcasters have worked on numerous projects over the years, and the memorandum includes two key areas, including establishing a center to develop documentaries for TV audiences, which focus on the Chinese and Asian market but target a global audience. The collaboration also seeks to develop TV and live event co-productions and expand the partners' distribution relationship.

"We have been collaborating with BBC Worldwide on TV programs for many years now," said Liu. "We are excited that with this MoU, we will be able to extend our partnership to reach new audiences."

Paul Dempsey, BBC Worldwide's president of global markets, said the agreement was a "milestone" in the history of BBC Worldwide's business in China and in the company's relationship with CCTV.

"The projects we will be working on will enable us to bring our flagship BBC Earth content to audiences across China and help bring together U.K. and Chinese creative talent," said Dempsey.

BBC Worldwide and CCTV9 previously announced co-production deals for science series Generation Earth, Wonders of Life and Africa. In April, the BBC's commercial arm confirmed a co-production agreement with CCTV9 on Hidden Kingdoms.