Disney skeins to go high-def in China

CCTV claims a viewership of over 1 billion people

Disney has licensed top skeins “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy” to air on CCTVHD, China’s first high-definition channel, by the end of this year, the first time it has licensed a live action series and library features in the HD format to the Chinese market.

“This is a groundbreaking deal and underscores our commitment to deliver the best television content to our clients in the highest quality format possible,” said Steve Macallister, senior VP and managing director of Buena Vista Intl. Television-Asia Pacific.

State broadcaster CCTV is largest national TV station in China, operating 16 channels and claiming a viewership of over 1 billion people. Both CCTV and the Shanghai Media Group have licenses to broadcast in HD, as China gears up for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. BVITV has licensed “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy” to over 200 markets so far.

At the end of 2005, the Mouse unit licensed “Desperate Housewives” in China, which launched on CCTV8 and became the No.1 and No.2 western series in Beijing and Shanghai in 2005, respectively. All three skeins are produced by Touchstone.

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