The Chinese subsidiary of global TV powerhouse Endemol Shine Group has struck a partnership agreement with Hunan TV, China’s second most-watched TV channel, to co-develop original formats for global consumption.
The partnership, unveiled Monday at MIPCOM, will see both companies work together to co-create multiple new nonscripted television formats for the local Chinese linear broadcast market, with the additional aim of identifying international distribution opportunities for the properties.
Endemol Shine China says it has already pitched Hunan TV with 10 new format ideas. The partners hope to narrow the field to at least one primetime nonscripted format for primetime release in early 2019.
“We have worked very closely with Hunan TV over the years, delivering Chinese adaptations of global hit formats such as Your Face Sounds Familiar and Anything Goes, both of which achieved fantastic ratings in China,” said William Tan, managing director of Endemol Shine China. “I am very pleased that we are now embarking on this exciting co-development adventure together, building on the opportunities presented by the vibrant Chinese content creation market, and in line with the Chinese government’s call for further content innovation and content export.”
Endemol Shine China also previously helped to adapt the hit drama Humans for China and signed an agreement to co-develop and internationally distribute Puzzle Masters, China’s top-rated reality show. The company has licensed several other hit TV properties to China in the past, such as Mr. Bean, Simon’s Cat and MasterChef.
Hunan TV is home to many of the biggest imported format hits in China, such as Strictly Come Dancing, 1 vs. 100 and Take Me Out, as well as some of China’s top domestically developed formats, like I’m A Singer and Daddy Where Are We Going.
In recent years, the channel has been shifting its focus to original content creation. The company recently launched a monthly internal pitching contest known as Biu Project, which sees some 20 Hunan-supported production teams and studios vie head to head to get their projects greenlighted.
The channel also has introduced China’s first-ever pilot production system on television to test out fresh ideas from both home and abroad. Successful projects to emerge from the new pilot system include The Sound, a celebrity voice-acting reality competition show, and Ultimate Vocal Academy, a musical crossover singing talent show that is set to premiere later this year.
Said Lester Hu, Hunan TV’s head of formats and international business: “Format co-development has been a buzzword in China for years. But this is not about simply taking something from distributors’ catalogues. What Hunan TV is really after is co-developing original content from scratch with our partners in China. By combing our strong in-house production unit with our unique pilot system, our goal is to roll out original formats to the world after these are tested in the local Chinese market. We are extremely pleased that Endemol Shine China is willing to embark on such an exciting journey with us and we trust that this collaboration will bring about tremendous new opportunities.”
Also at MIPCOM, Endemol Shine China revealed that it would collaborate with China’s Blue&White&Red Pictures, along with its production partner Cloudwood, to create a Mandarin-language adaptation of hit crime drama Broadchurch.
Endemol Shine has been in talks about being acquired by such companies as Banijay Group.