HBO Signs Development Deal With China Movie Channel (Exclusive)

CCTV's headquarters in Beijing

The partners will co-develop TV movies for the massive Chinese television audience, which counts an estimated 1.2 billion viewers.

HBO Asia is partnering with China Movie Channel to co-develop a slate of Chinese-language TV movies designed to air in China and overseas.

The deal marks HBO's first major development or production collaboration in the massive Chinese television sector, which counts an estimated 1.2 billion viewers.

China Movie Channel, also known as CCTV6, is the flagship entertainment channel of state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).

"We're very excited to be partnering with HBO on high-quality TV movies," Zhang Ling, vice president of China Movie Channel, told THR in Cannes. "Our business models are very complementary, so it is a natural collaboration. We will share more details about our plans at the Shanghai International Film Festival," she added. (SIFF runs June 11-18)

It is understood that China Movie Channel will handle the local Chinese broadcast of the titles that result from the deal, while HBO will carry them overseas.

China Movie Channel is the official Chinese broadcaster of the Oscars. The state-backed company also has invested in several Hollywood films, such as Paramount's Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) and Skydance Production's Mission Impossible — Rogue Nation (2015). CCTV6 execs tell THR more such investments are to come.

"Our next project is the distribution of Angry Birds in China" on May 20, Zhang said, adding: "The door is open to more collaboration with Hollywood."

Over the past few years, HBO has been escalating its productions overseas. Through regional partnerships, the company has produced a number of cutting-edge local-language drama series in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Singapore.  

HBO declined to comment.