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In TV's golden age, that's entertainment (3)

By Han Bingbin  (China Daily)

09:03, October 06, 2012

The company brought its experience to the production of The Voice of China, which has been aired on Zhejiang TV since mid-July. So far, the show has dominated Friday nights, with a 4.6 rating at its peak. Though many reproductions have had dismal performances, the success of Got Talent and The Voice of China seemed bright enough to build local producers' confidence.

"Since Got Talent, Chinese producers have seen the real value of format purchase. After The Voice, more TV stations and production companies started to buy foreign program formats," said Xu Yang, general manager of Shanghai- and London-based program format broker IPCN.

"Everyone is looking for the next Voice and Got Talent."

IPCN, set up by former ITV executive Mick Desmond, has so far licensed more than 10 foreign formats in China, including Got Talent, The Voice and Sony Pictures Television's The Sing-Off. Its business has expanded to online platforms since the launch of a local version of Banijay Entertainment's Date My Car on IQIYI.com.

Rebecca Yang, CEO of IPCN, has said that nowadays you have a better chance of getting away with edgy formats in less mature markets like China than in the developed ones like the UK. But, like what used to happen in other fast-growing format markets such as Russia and Malaysia, the craze for foreign formats is only "a phase of blind worship," Xu added.

Hu Zhengrong, vice-president of Communication University of China, remains optimistic about what he thinks is "an inevitable learning phase before China has a mature TV industry".

"As in every other industry, buying technology is a way to quickly lessen the gap. If they started buying formats 10 years ago, when TV was still a more powerful platform than the Internet, the industry could have been a lot more mature now," Hu said.

"But no hurry. There are so many program formats in the West, they still have a lot more to learn."

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