Televisa deals open door on China market


Televisa on Thursday said it is set to sign co-production deals with Chinese pubcaster CCTV and Shanghai Media Group as the Mexican media giant looks to boost its presence throughout Asia.

The co-production agreements will allow Televisa to overcome China's market restrictions on foreign TV content, said Arturo Casares, who will head Televisa's new office in China along with network executive Francisco Ortiz.

Jose Baston, Televisa's corporate vp television, told reporters Thursday that he will be traveling to China in June to sign joint-venture agreements to co-produce telenovelas and popular Televisa formats. Televisa said that Chinese broadcasters have expressed particular interest in the reality format "Dancing for the Wedding of My Dreams."

Under a separate agreement signed Monday with China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, Televisa's cable outfit, Cablevision, will bow CCTV Internacional. The channel features Chinese news, sports, educational and cultural programs dubbed in Spanish. In turn, Televisa is looking to sell its own channels to Chinese pay TV systems. Televisa, the world's largest producer of Spanish-language programming, sees China as a crucial territory to step up international operations.

"China is a challenging market because there are so many players, but the objective is clear," Baston said. "We want to have a stronger presence not only in China but throughout Asia."

Since 2000, China has aired four Televisa telenovelas, including "The Stepmother" and "Camila." The Mexican soaps, which were dubbed into Mandarin, performed well in the Chinese market.

Television accounts for an estimated 75% of the Chinese ad market, according to ACNielsen. CCTV, which has 16 different channels, estimates it has more than 1 billion viewers.