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Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

MIPDoc Takeaways: Access for Vancouver’s LaDiDa Media / Latest on China’s CCTV-9 Documentary Channel and the ‘Pivot’ to Europe

Canada’s LaDiDa Media

Sylvie Peltier is president of LaDiDa Media, an experienced Vancouver-based factual producer who has been working with Canadian channels.

Sylvie decided to expand her horizons by attending MIPDoc. She was looking for international pre-buys and co-productions, as well as for opportunities to refresh her Canadian contacts.  Sylvie engaged us to help develop and execute LaDiDa’s MIPDoc marketing strategy.

Sylvie and Peter in Cannes

Sylvie Peltier & Peter Hamilton in front of the CCTV banner that
dominated the entrance to the Palais. Photo: Greg  Nosaty


Here are Sylvie Peltier’s MIPDoc Takeaways:

1. “Access: We met with numerous senior level programming execs from U.S. and Europe, both socially and in meetings that we often arranged on the spur of the moment.”

2.  “An unexpected benefit was to continue the conversation with our current clients, who are located in Toronto and Montreal. We have always found it a challenge to fly out from Vancouver to Montreal and make appointments just to say hello. As a result, too much time elapses between meetings. It was easy to rekindle those relationships at MIPDoc.”

3. “An exciting meeting was with Pauline Mazenod from Windrose Distribution who showed that she can help get presales and perhaps coproduce for concepts that we are developing, and that hold promise for partial finding from Canada.”

4. “The commissioners’ presentations were really important… for example seeing how far Nat Geo has moved away from its yellow border heritage, but also understanding how eager they are for new ideas both at the U.S. and global levels.”

5. Big Takeaway: “Our brand and reputation took a big step forward just by presenting ourselves in the international market. The commissioners see our production company differently: not so so much as a ‘BC producer’ but as a ‘global producer based in BC.’ ”


CCTV-9 Documentary Channel

Last year CCTV-9 made a big statement at MIPDoc and MIPTV.

This year, the message sent by CCTV’s delegation was: “OK, you all know that we’re an international player, and now we’re getting bigger and better!”

Here’s what we learned (and re-learned) last week about China’s documentary market.


  • CCTV is China’s national public broadcaster, operating 37 channels: 25 public and 12 premium channels, including CCTV9 Documentary and CCTV10 Education.
  • Total domestic audience share in 2012: 32%.
  • CCTV’s international channels are broadcast in English French, Spanish, Arabic and Russia.
  • CCTV News operates 5 regional news hubs and 63 bureaux.
  • Its entertainment channels actively import formats.

 2. CCTV-9 Documentary Channel


  • 2013: 14 international copros, totaling 50 episodes.
  • Partners include BBC, France Televisions, NGC Asia, NHK, NHNZ, Gebruder Beetz Films, Screen Australia and Bearcage Films.
  • Copro investment: $8-12 million in 2013.


  • In 2012, CCTV-9 announced 4 in-house signature productions at MIPTV.
  • In 2013: 8.
  • Total original production: 500 hours.


  • 800 hours of international acquisitions


  • CCTV-9’s advertising Revenue rose from $32 mn in 2012 to a projected $63 mn in 2013.

CCTV-9 International

  • “Window on China.”
  • “40 million viewers in 60 countries and regions.”
  • 1,000 hours of documentaries translated into English already.


  • CCTV-9’s average prime time audience is said to be 63 million!

3. Outside CCTV-9

  • CCTV-10, the educational channel is moving away from instructional programs to documentaries that entertain and inform. A new English-speaking acquisitions team is on board. Watch out for CCTV-10 as a growing national alternative to CCTV-9.
  • According to Sunnyside of the Doc‘s Yves Jeanneau, China’s regions and cities are also competing to develop documentary channels and production centers. A very substantial Chinese delegation will attend this year’s Sunnyside in La Rochelle from June 24-28.

Takeaway for International Relations Buffs

  • One curious development: China’s documentary and unscripted entertainment industry seems to have decided against attending the U.S. and Anglo-Saxon markets, and is focusing instead on European and particularly French ones.
  • Since there’s a government-funded ‘soft power’ factor at work here, one wonders if the U.S. ‘pivot’ to Asia and its policy of containing a resurgent China aren’t shaping the Chinese industry’s tilt towards European marketing and perhaps copro partners? 


With Beijing Opera star on the beach in Cannes
Photo Ian Cross, Pilot Productions