Shanghai minding its business

Connecting China, int'l firms top priority for TV fest

Despite the addition of new categories for Asian TV drama and best animated film, the focus of this year's 13th annual Shanghai Television Festival will remain firmly on dealmaking and establishing connections between Chinese companies and those abroad.

"We focus on facilitating deals between Chinese and foreign companies," STVF vice executive secretary general Tang Lijun said of the event, which kicked off Monday. "There are many foreign buyers, but also many companies from overseas are trying to sell here."

While the Chinese television broadcast market remains limited to foreign players, Tang says it is opening and that the amount of foreign-produced material is on the rise.

This year, the STVF will host 275 film- and television-related companies from 39 countries and regions, and nearly 500 buyers will be in attendance. Nearly 40% of those participants are foreign, Tang said.

"STVF is the most international TV festival in China, and this is reflected in the International TV and Film Market," Tang said. "China's market is quite open to foreign players, as can be seen by the increasing number of foreign companies during the festival."

Although there is a strong Asian and European presence, the Walt Disney Co. was one of just a handful of North American content firms present.

With the Beijing Olympics on the horizon in 2008 being followed by Shanghai's 2010 Expo, this year's festival will examine the media's role in these events. There also is an exploration into new media and how it affects traditional broadcasters.

Menachem Rubin, a graphic designer for Israel-based technology firm Orad HiTec Systems, is a participant in the new-media section of the New Media and Broadcasting Equipment Market. Orad has offices in China and is marketing technology to enhance video data graphics by making real-time dynamic graphics that are database driven while most graphics are added in static form, Rubin said. This will have primary applications in the news broadcast industry and the company would like to capitalize on interest around the Beijing Olympics.

"There are many other exhibitors that we can interact with, and there promises to be a large number of visitors to the market," Rubin said. "The festival will be a good opportunity to reach the Chinese market."

The Shanghai Television Festival, a sister event of the Shanghai International Film Festival, runs through Friday.