Metan, the China-focused media company, is preparing 52-part celebrity biography series called Icons that will kick off with a David Beckham profile. The company, which was created by E! co-founder Larry Namer and former News Corp Europe boss Marty Pompadur, is also working with a several US-creatives who are keen to produce content for the Chinese market.
The first episode of the 52x30mins Icons series has been shot. The producers scoured Chinese search engines to find the celebrities and personalities that Chinese consumers were most interested in and profiles of Barack Obama, Bill Gates and Britney Spears are all expected to follow the Beckham show. The programme will be carried on the Tianjin satellite channel, giving it a national footprint.
Metan has so far got one show on air, the entertainment and celebrity magazine show Hello! Hollywood. It syndicates the show to local stations and in return for advertising air time. Namer admits this has been tougher than expected. “We’ve got some advertisers coming on board in the second quarter but it has taken more time than we thought or hoped it would, we were a little optimistic,” he says.
Meanwhile Metan is working with several US creatives. These include Friends producer Todd Stevens and Stan Rogow, the exec producer of Disney’s hit kid series Lizzie McGuire. Metan is looking at getting distribution for Rogow’s animated sci-fi series Afterworld in China and reversioning his vampire web series Valemont, which streams on MTV.com, for Chinese viewers.
Namer says. “There are a lot of creatives folks in Hollywood that would like to be exposed to the Chinese market, but don’t want to get into issues of how to handle distribution. We want to provide a platform for them and make it as painless as possible.”
Metan is also staring to take third-party content into China. It started distributing a pair of miniseries from UK-based Power last year and has just started representing shows from the Comcast cable networks, which include E! and The Style Network, in China. It is also repping content from Fox’s extreme sports cable net Fuel.