MIPTV: China Scores With First Talent Show Format Export

"Sing My Song"

Britain's ITV nabs rights to "Sing My Song."

CANNES -- ITV Global Studios has just landed international format rights to Sing My Song -- the first original Chinese talent show format to be exported abroad.

Sing My Song is a studio-based music contest, searching for the best original songs in the nation. Four of the Chinese music industry's most accomplished singer-songwriters share their experience and expertise as producers-judges, providing feedback and guidance to the contestants.

The judges on the show also share an important goal: Each is scouting for songs to be part of his or her own original music album.

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The original series aired on China's national channel CCTV-3 earlier this year, reaching 480 million viewers across the series, with a total audience share of 37 percent in China; CCTV-3's slot ratings zoomed 59 percent year-on-year.

Sing My Song takes the talent show genre in a new direction, highlighting the musical creativity of the contestants. It also became a social media phenom.

Mike Beale, director of International Formats for ITV Studios, called the deal a fantastic example of the benefits of a British-Chinese creative partnership. In Sing My Song, Star China has created a primetime entertainment show with proven appeal to millions of viewers in the TV business' hottest market.

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"ITV has a stellar reputation and Star China is thrilled they are representing our first original format," says Vivian Yin, chief representative of Star China and vp of Starry Productions.

Yin told The Hollywood Reporter that Star China has extensive experience in localizing imported formats, like The Voice, and even in localizing scripted U.S. shows, like Fox's Glee, but she is "ecstatic" to see the process go in the other direction.

Michel Rodrigue, a longtime format specialist and now CEO of The Format People, consulted on the deal for Star China with ITV Studios Global Entertainment.