SMG, Jiangsu to develop platforms

Duo look to expand offerings for affluent east coast residents

BEIJING -- The Shanghai Media Group and the regional cable television unit of the Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp will work together to develop digital cable and other "next generation" content platforms in one of the wealthiest regions along China's east coast.

In a ceremony in Shanghai on Wednesday, SMG president Li Ruigang signaled the strategic partnership was a part of his company's plans to grow from a media powerhouse in China's largest city to a nationwide content provider.

Jiangsu Broadcasting Television Network Corp., also known as Jiangsu Cable, is one of China's most mature television networks, with 10.66 cable million subscribers. Standing with its chairperson, Chen Mengjuan, Li said:

"SMG and Jiangsu Cable will work together to create new applications and services and to explore the potential of the market to push the development of media industry," according to an SMG public relations official who attended the event.

The strategic partnership marks the beginning of "cross-regional collaboration" between the two companies, Li said, a partnership that will lead to further cooperation in areas such as "TV shopping, value-added services, financing and investing."

Jiangsu Cable's subscribers include 5 million digital cable users and 300,000 users of interactive television -- all test audiences for content from SMG unit Shanghai Interactive Television's 16 interactive channels, the SMG official told THR.

SiTV is one of the four licensed digital pay-TV content producers in China allowed to offer digital pay-TV services throughout the country. Besides Shanghai, SiTV's digital pay-TV channels have also been launched in over 200 Chinese cities.

Content from SiTV channels has already begun to show on Jiangsu Cable, the SMG official said, adding that "the next step would be to develop content together, with a joint venture a possibility in the future."

The SMG-JBC pact comes less than a year after the Ministry of Science and Technology and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television agreed to jointly construct China's "Next Generation Broadcast" network.

The NGB network is supposed to utilize homegrown Chinese technology to provide users with high-speed broadband bandwidth, thus enabling the blending of TV, mobile multimedia, Internet and telecom services.

Also in attendance on Wednesday were Wang Zhongwei, the chief of publicity for the Communist party in Shanghai and Yang Xinli, Wang's counterpart on the Jiangsu provincial level.

SMG is China's No. 2 media group after China Central Television. JBC, headquartered in Nanjing and led by director general, Zhou Li, recently has been pursuing expansion in content production with high-profile projects such as its investment in director Lu Chuan's hit feature "City of Love and Death," about the Nanjing Massacre in 1937.