Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

China at MIPTV: Profile Shrinks, But Size Tells Another Story. Greenlight Back On

China made a loud promise during MIPDoc and MIPTV in 2012 to bring its massive scale to the global unscripted video market.

For a few days, the Croisette resembled Shanghai’s famous Bund.

Luo Ming, CCTV’s VP for economic affairs captured China’s strategy when he said:

  • “Size is important at MIPTV.”
  • “And the higher the profile of Chinese content in general, the more interest there is in all our shows.”

That was back then.


Turning to MIPTV 2015:

  • China showed a subdued profile.
  • This reflected structural and political storms besetting its video sector.
  • But this year’s lack of PR and branding doesn’t tell the full story.


First, it’s helpful to take a look at the attendance of China’s delegates at MIPTV:

  • MIPTV drew many fewer delegates than MIPCOM did last Autumn.
  • The page count of the delegate section of the MIPTV Guide is around 75% of the 2014 MIPCOM Guide
  • Emerging market delegations showed a larger decrease.
  • However, China bucked the average, sending the same sized delegation to MIPTV as to MIPCOM.

Delegations: A Selection

Malaysia / Indonesia2462-61%
MIP Guide (# pages)399523-24%


  • The CCTV horn may have been quiet around the Palais at MIPTV in April.
  • But at the enterprise level, more and more Chinese firms are establishing themselves in the global video value chain.

What Else Did I Learn About China?

Back to Business

  • The green light is back on at CCTV for copro’s and commissions.
  • This follows the paralysis of 2014 when the state broadcaster was frozen by the arrest of a dozen top execs.
  • Temporary but respected leaders are in charge at CCTV9 (Documentary) and other channels.
  • Insiders expect a major overhaul of the CCTV senior executive team.
  • But the last year of turbulence is a forceful reminder that opportunities in China carry a greater business risk than with comparable Western partners.

Content: Demand Up

  • The regulator has ordered the scheduling of a daily half-hour of docs on all channels.
  • This mandate is fueling annual demand for 6,000 – 8,000 hours of acquisitions.
  • China’s preferences are for topics that interest Chinese viewers, meaning that they are about China, and are politically safe.
  • Those filters also apply to co-pro’s.
  • They therefore limit the pipeline of programs that are qualified to attract international cofinancing.

Online: More Disruption to Come

  • Meanwhile, China’s Communist Party authorities are unsettled by the explosion of online viewing at the expense of CCTV and other established channels.
  • China’s digital platforms are commissioning and acquiring documentaries, but outside the control of the broadcast system.
  • Rumors of a NETFLIX deal are further disturbing the market.


  • All of these structural issues suggest a possible overhaul by the SARFT regulator of the entire Chinese broadcast and video sector.
  • I’ll have a lot more to report in July after Sunnyside of the Doc.

MIPDoc Delegate Count

  • MIPDOC 2015 versus MIPDOC 2014: +5%
  • MIPTV 2015 versus MIPTV 2014: -5%

More Analysis



ITN Source signs agreement to license CCTV+ footage

ITN Source has signed a representation agreement to license CCTV+ news archive footage worldwide.

The footage focuses on regional and international news content, produced by CCTV’s own newsgathering team, covering a combination of current political, social, economic and cultural hard news as well as human interest stories unique to China.

The agreement will enable broadcasters and production companies worldwide to search, view and download unedited CCTV+ news material directly via the ITN Source website.

“Through our cooperation with ITN Source, we hope to provide our professional services to broadcasters and production companies around the globe. I believe this partnership will open up more opportunities for both CCTV+ and ITN Source in the future,” said Wei Gao, Managing Director of CCTV+.

Andy Williams, Managing Director of ITN Source, said: “We’re delighted to have formed this partnership with CCTV+.  We have seen growing demand for news footage about events in China as well as an interest in understanding China’s perspective on international events.  This agreement will help to satisfy that demand from our clients around the world.   We recently opened a new sales office in Singapore and so having access to this collection will further enhance the service we can provide to producers in the region.”

As part of ITN Source’s ongoing digitisation programme, footage from across Asia is being prioritised for selection. ITN Source has over 2.8 million archive news clips, programmes and film titles available online, dating back to 1896.

The archive is digitising over 20 hours of new content every day, constantly uncovering new, rare and unseen material.

ITN Source China compilation 

ITN Source SE Asia compilation