MIP China bridges Chinese, foreign players in TV and film
By Xu Fan | China Daily
China's burgeoning TV and movie industry, the second-largest market of its kind in the world, has attracted a number of foreign players to seek cooperation or distribution, participants said at the ongoing MIP China Hangzhou International Content Summit.
As the Asian expansion of MIP events regularly held in Cannes, France and the world's largest trade markets for entertainment content, MIP China was launched in 2017 in Hangzhou, capital city of Zhejiang province.
Now in its third edition, this year's event kicked off on June 5 and will end today.
The event has attracted 320 representatives from more than 170 companies in 19 countries and regions. The number of attending companies is up 15 percent compared to last year.
Consisting of two major sectors, the event is holding master classes on the latest trends in international cooperation and nearly 800 one-to-one meetings for Chinese television and film companies to communicate with their foreign counterparts.
Ted Baracos, MIP China Director, said the goal of the event is to bring international buyers to China and tell locals how to make better content which will appeal to the rest of the world.
He also said the most popular Chinese TV programs in Europe are still animated series and documentaries, as television dramas — especially historical tales — are usually difficult for foreigners to understand, with their backdrops and plotlines. Locals prefer to watch shows in their languages, thus making Chinese content with subtitles hard to find footing.
Yukari Hayashi, senior director of Japan International Broadcasting, subsidiary of NHK Group, said the key to a successful documentary is storytelling.
"You should not lie but you have to make the documentary's narrative dramatic. Based on the facts, the story could have ups and downs," Hayashi said.
As NHK is widely known for wildlife and nature documentaries, Hayashi also revealed the company has rules passed from one generation to the next, including a stipulation that photographers should not disturb wild animals during shooting.
Sean Chu, CEO of Beijing-based animated company WeKids, says international coproduction — a recent buzzword — is actually very complicated.
He said Chinese companies must hire professionals to be clear about laws and policies in partner countries.
"I've heard one such incident, a Chinese company spent a lot to market their shows at an MIP event in Cannes several years ago. But unfortunately, they hired a tour guide to translate in an important meeting. As the guide knew little about the TV and movie industries, the meeting ended in disaster," Chu said.
Huang Dai, senior vice-president at Sony Pictures, says international coproduction — seemingly an effective way to enter all the producing markets — is best when focused on one market at first with specialized, localized content.