InDemand, Seven Stars Media Pact for Chinese Cable Market (Exclusive)

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InDemand has signed with Chinese shingle Seven Stars Media to provide sports, music and lifestyle content for the booming Chinese cable market.

In exchange, the U.S.-based In Demand will air Chinese-language on demand movies on American cable systems through its digital and set-top VOD platforms.

Bob Benya, prez-CEO of In Demand, told Variety, “We are going to be getting VOD movies in the Chinese language — an extension of what we already do. We have Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Bollywood — but now we’ll have a substantial increase and quality of the films we’ll get from China.”

Chinese Americans are the largest Asian-American group in the U.S., with a population of over 4 million.

Initially the link-up will involve travel, home and garden and parenting, expanding over time to supply a broad variety of niche channels. Seven Stars Media topper Bruno Wu said the agreement will evolve and add multiple projects across the media landscape, including expanded content packages. The first programming is expected to begin distribution later this year.

In Beijing, Wu told Variety, “In Demand has an impressive and long-standing record as the best in the business of content aggregation and preparation. They have the relationships, industry knowledge, creativity and technical proficiency to help us grow our entertainment offerings to Chinese viewers.”

Benya added, “The marketplace in China for cable programming holds tremendous promise. With nearly 200 million cable TV households — of which 70 million are expected to be VOD-enabled within two years — we are laying the groundwork to provide a range of entertainment to China’s growing TV viewer base. A vast majority of what we provide will be in English and Bruno will focus on the dubbing over there.”

Wu had been looking to tap into the newish cable industry in China and wanted to team with In Demand “to fast-track things,” said Benya. “We started doing these international phone calls in the middle of the night after the introduction was made. In terms of use, we wanted to know what products would make the most sense and how to evolve these products. But it’s the growth prospect that got me really excited.”