S.A.’s MIH inks deals with China network

Pacts include a large-scale perf, model b'casts and kid's p'gramming

JOHANNESBURG — South African satellite TV group MIH has entered into three agreements with China Central Television (CCTV), strengthening the relationship that began in 1997 when MIH started broadcasting CCTV’s international channel to Chinese audiences in Europe and Africa.

Under the first of the agreements, signed in Johannesburg on Tuesday, the two broadcasters will co-produce a large-scale musical and cultural performance of South African and Chinese artists and musicians.

Model operation

A second agreement will see the co-production of a Chinese equivalent of the Face of Africa competition, the annual contest hosted by South African pay station M-Net in which young, unknown African models are unearthed through programs broadcast across the continent.

The third deal will see the production of a series of six children’s programs for each country to be filmed, broadcast and distributed in China and greater Asia as well as South Africa and the entire African continent.

MIH communications general manager Lebogang Hashatse said the value of the deal — which has yet to be determined — was secondary to the benefits of cooperation with CCTV.

Seeking new auds

CCTV is the biggest network in the world, with more than 1 billion viewers. “They want to start exporting their own content, and we have the platforms and ability to package that,” Hashatse told reporters.

The agreements were signed by MIH Holdings chief exec Cobus Stofberg and CCTV president Zhao Hua Yong.

MIH Holdings, which is listed on the Nasdaq and Amsterdam boards, consists of TV platforms M-Net, Supersport and Multichoice Africa; technology businesses OpenTV and Mindport; and a number of Web applications.

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