Chinese TV industry needs innovation, not imports

( CNTV ) Updated: 2013-11-19 14:03:23

Chinese TV industry needs innovation, not imports

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Chinese TV industry needs innovation, not imports

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It was more than three decades ago when the first foreign TV drama was aired in China. Now that the Chinese market is no stranger to shows from overseas, what should the domestic industry do in the face of increasing competition?

An access to TV and film marketing information in China, The 12th Sichuan TV Festival welcomed media organizations from 77 countries including Australia, Russia and Britain. This year's festival will discuss topics such as the internationalization of Chinese media and other trends in the industry. The event has also become a platform for producers and distributors to showcase their works and promote Chinese works in overseas markets.

In recent years, fierce competition for program ratings is driving many Chinese TV production companies to import overseas programs and its formats. It's a challenge to the domestic production industry, but they're also learning fast from it.

"We learn from foreign programs, to use continuous means of shooting and production, and to enhance our capability to produce better shows. We have also produced shows which combine local culture and customs," said Li Jin, president of Chengdu Broadcasting and TV Station.

There are more than 290 Chinese television broadcasters and 1,300 channels in the country today. Chinese outlets have become a huge market for foreign media companies. But experts say what the industry really needs is innovation, not just imports.

"China in many ways is presented with the same issues as Canada was. There is more than one way to tell a story, the story-telling techs in China and in America are quite different," said Paul Lewis, president of Discovery Channel, Bell Media. "CCTV documentary channel 9 has really gotten in long way in terms of reaching out to more international cooperation, to try to work through those issues."

"The story telling is different, we just need to learn how to manage those differences."

"You can use the Chinese story, actors, writers, but make it international," said Georges Leclere, president of Levlere Global Media Advisers.

For many domestic producers, snagging the rights to an overseas program is the key to surviving. But in the long run, more innovation is needed for Chinese TV programs to compete on the international stage.

Related: 2013 (12th) Sichuan TV Festival kicks off in November

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