Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Success Frameworks for China’s Factual Market: # 1, The Four Primary Filters for a Reality TV Concept

Welcome to ‘‘.

Why ‘…/Chinese’?

Consider this chart:


Sources: CCTV, Nielsen, BARB

China’s huge scale and rapid economic growth have propelled its television industry light years beyond Mao’s ‘People’s Daily’.

Documentary channels are flourishing in the regions as well as the national – CCTV – level.

  • They are hungry for content-driven story-telling that seems quaint by the “Big, Noisy Character” measure used by ever more Western networks.
  • Another driver is Beijing’s rejection of reality and elimination formats as ‘cultural pollution’.
  • There is a top-down mandate from the CCP for China to become a leader in the documentary niche.

International Impact

We have been reporting that China’s doc sector has already gone global:

  • Blue Chip co-productions are underway with the BBC, Nat Geo, Discovery and others.
  • CCTV totally dominated the vibe at this year’s MIPDoc.
  • CCTV Documentary Channel is widely distributed outside China.
  • And Chinese-speaking executives and producers in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and elsewhere are adding to this rich mix.

What is the Content of

China’s factual professionals are intensely curious about the practices and processes that are employed in the West. will cover important ‘success frameworks’ that we use to get a handle on our business.

Our first snapshot is an extract from Stephen Harris’s ‘Four Filters’ for evaluating a pitch:

  • Stephen recently returned to production and the LA lifestyle after a successful term on A&E’s hot development team.
  • And he just signed on as a featured workshop leader at ATF in Singapore (December 4-7, 2012).


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Many thanks to Leonard Ko, Krista Gonzalez, Jeremy Miller, Alexander Watson and many other new and old friends who contributed to this enjoyable initiative.

Your China Strategy

Our contacts and consulting expertise are available to help Western players develop and execute a China strategy, and for the lowest risk.


COMMENTS (Selection)

Congratulations Peter! I just came back from China and indeed there is a lot going on here in the States with the Chinese communities. I believe this is a great idea! Let me know if I can be of any help. Maria

Peter, This is more brilliant work.  The Chinese edition will expand your audience as well. Keep it going, Jim

Hi Peter, What about documentary filmmakers from India? how can we get involved given the fact that we a shared cultural history with China? Nandan

Great!!! Pan Hu

Hey Peter – You are right there on the wave of what’s new and exciting. I have terrific China contacts and consultants. Do you have buyers? Warmly, Norm

I always learn a lot from Peter’s newsletters – very crisply written and persuasive!! Krishan

Great, a lot of people would like it. In fact, Discovery, BBC’s documentary, National Geographic, open classes from US universities and TED are all very popular in China. And we would want more. A great news! Lin Zhu


Network and Studio Development Opportunities for Indie, Doc and Non-Scripted Producers from the NYTVF:

  • The 2012 New York Television Festival is offering showcase, meeting and pitch opportunities as well as 24 guaranteed development deals from industry partners including Lifetime, VH1, Syfy, Sundance Channel, Logo, BIO Channel, SevenOne International, Hasbro Studios, Channel 4 and more.
  • Submit your original TV pilots, web series and teasers for the chance to earn funding and development options as well as participation in the 2012 Festival: Oct 22-27.
  • Deadlines approaching!
  • Get all the details here: