Politics rattles broadcasters

China

BEIJING — Chinese TV companies are adopting a steady-as-she-goes policy on what skeins to produce or buy while the government continues its war against programming it finds vulgar.

In general, there should be a lot less exuberance this year as the atmosphere in China tightens politically, particularly around an important Communist Party gathering this month.

Viewer ennui also is driving a move away from reality skeins. More than 500 such shows pepper the ether, so expect less of a focus from China at Mipcom on flamboyant talent shows like Hunan TV’s “Super Girl,” which has lost ground to Shanghai Dragon TV’s “My Hero.”

China’s state broadcaster CCTV, the world’s biggest with around 1 billion viewers by some reckonings, will be considering docs, cartoons and TV films.

“We’ll be looking at documentaries that focus on scientific subjects,” says Zhang Lin, director of CCTV’s overseas sales department. “As far as talent shows go, we will buy some foreign formats, but we haven’t decided which one we will buy yet.”

CCTV will also be looking for fashion shows from Japan while keeping an eye open for Korean sudsers, even if their popularity seems to have waned slightly in recent years.

On the sales side, the Chinese will be trying to sell homegrown documentaries, which are improving in quality — for example, the slick “The Forbidden City,” which tells the story of the palace at Beijing’s heart using sophisticated CGI.

Even though CCTV has lost ground to some regional broadcasters, the biggest one-off skein on TV remains its “Chinese New Year Spectacular,” a bonanza of folk fun at Spring Festival time. And CCTV flagship “Network News Broadcast” has become one of the world’s most-watched news programs, with an aud of 135 million.

TOP 3

1. Superboy (Hunan TV)

2. My Hero (Shanghai Dragon TV)

3. My Show (Shanghai Dragon TV)

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