BBC Worldwide wants an on-the-ground production base in China, the company’s country manager Kelvin Yau has told TBI.
Yau joined Worldwide from The Economist earlier this year, replacing the long-serving Pierre Cheung in the Beijing-based role. He said that getting a production base in place is a priority.
“We are looking at setting up our own production capability in China and considering what the right structure is and what would work best,” Yau told TBI. “We are looking at different options and checking the regulations and limitations.”
“Besides selling formats and programming, and providing flying producers and consultants as we do already, this would help build the local production industry, and give the international people involved a better understanding of China,” he added. “It is a long-term strategy, and was made one of my priorities when I came in.”
BBC Worldwide-China copros include Generation Earth, Wonders of Life and Africa with CCTV. The BBC has also recently coproduced The Hunt with the Chinese state broadcaster.
Worldwide also has a strategic deal in place with Chinese media giant Shanghai Media Group and the pair are working on a local version of Coast and a feature doc follow-up to 2007’s Earth, provisionally called Earth: One Amazing Day.
Regional broadcast powerhouse Hunan is also keen to work with the commercial arm of the BBC on blue chip projects, Yau said, adding that there is now an MOU and strategic partnership in place between BBCWW and Hunan’s Mango division, spanning programme sales and coproduction.