TikTok's Parent Company Takes BBC Content for China

'Blue Planet'

Over the past year, ByteDance has expanded upon the global strength of its signature shortform video apps by making a push into longform video in China. The deal deepens a partnership for more high-end content.

BBC Studios and ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, unveiled a deal Thursday that will see a diverse batch of the U.K. broadcaster's factual content stream over the Chinese video giant's growing longform video channel Xigua.

The deal includes BBC Studios' acclaimed documentary series Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Frozen Planet, as well as exclusive China rights to new factual series: Hubble: The Wonders of Space Revealed (1x100 minutes) and Primates (3x50 minutes).

The partnership follows a deal for BBC Studio's Dracula, which premiered on Xigua Video in January.

"We are committed to providing our users with a variety of contents and the best viewing experience possible," said Lili Qian, general manager of content cooperation at Xigua Video. "After the success of Dracula, we are offering more BBC Studios content, including two new visually stunning documentaries."

Hubble: The Wonders of Space Revealed will premiere on the BBC in the U.K. on April 24. A 100-minute version of the doc will then be made available exclusively on ByteDance's Xigua Video and Toutiao platforms in China. In the past 30 years, 1.5 million observations have been taken by the Hubble space telescope. Hubble: The Wonders of Space Revealed shows actual data, magnificent images of the universe and our cosmic habitat.

Primates vividly depicts the charismatic lineage that human beings belong to, with 400 species including apes, monkeys and lemurs. From deserts to jungles, grasslands to bustling cities, the series shows a diversity of habitats for primates. A surge in primate research has revealed a new side of these intriguing animals, while the latest developments in photography technologies have allowed primates to be filmed in exciting new ways, BBC Studios says. 

BBC Studios' Phil Hardman, general manager for Greater China, added: "This content deal with Xigua Video in China takes our partnership to a new level and we’re delighted that our bold, British and creative content will have such a strong presence. It achieves a balanced all-genre presence on Xigua Video, and we will also be adapting shortform content to meet the needs of users and the platform."

Over the past year, ByteDance has expanded upon the global strength of its signature shortform video apps by making a bold push into longform video in China, successfully challenging deep-pocketed incumbents iQiyi, Alibaba's Youku and Tencent Video.