Central China Television buys docu skein 'Frozen Planet'

BBC Worldwide has sold natural history docu skein “Frozen Planet” to Central China Television, as the U.K. pubcaster’s commercial arm ramps up its sale drive in China.

“We’re very pleased with how the business is going. We don’t make huge amounts of money (in China), but I can see some good growth potential,” said Steve Macallister, managing director of BBC Worldwide, sales and distribution.

Macallister was speaking on the sidelines of the second BBC Showcase in Beijing, a marketing event that aims to boost BBC Worldwide’s presence in one of the world’s fastest growing TV markets.

More than 150 people attended the event, which takes place during the Beijing TV Festival.

“Frozen Planet” is a co-production of the BBC, Discovery, Spain’s Antena 3 Television, German pubcaster ZDF, the U.K.’s Open University and Greek TV group Skai. It’s made by the BBC’s Natural History Unit and features iconic natural history narrator David Attenborough.

BBC Worldwide will also explore social networks in China, including Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of the banned Facebook. Weibo has about 140 million registered users.

While BBC Worldwide has no concrete plans to co-operate with social networks, it is working with online video sites in China, such as Sohu.com and Ifeng.com.

It has also signed deals with Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom and now.com.hk in Hong Kong.

BBC Worldwide has sold five formats in China, including “Top Gear,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “Tonight’s the Night.”

“We’ve been doing business in China for 20 years and have a number of very good relationships. Our goal is to have content where the eyeballs are,” Macallister said.

Its China co-productions began with 2008’s “Wild China,” which sold to more than 160 territories.

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