Endemol Shine is closing its China-based production and development operations and turning instead towards a centralized licensing strategy driven by local agents on the ground, ContentAsia reported Wednesday. The decision will impact its 12-person Beijing office, and the transition will be completed in the first half of next year.
Despite a number of strong IP licensing deals “the current operational model is considered unsustainable given the market conditions which limit the activities of non-domestic production companies,” company executives told ContentAsia.
The news comes less than two weeks after the French-Italian production and distribution firm Banijay Group announced its acquisition of the Endemol Shine. “The two companies will operate separately until the deal closes, so the China decision is unlikely to be linked to the sale,” ContentAsia said.
Existing projects will continue under its new model, however. “We remain committed to the region with our revised approach,” said Nicola Bamford, Endemol Shine Group’s CEO of international operations.
The company announced a co-production deal with leading Chinese broadcaster Hunan TV at Mipcom last year, from which it has recently produced talent formats “Sing or Spin” and “Acting Up,” a show in which up-and-coming actors fight for roles in real Chinese scripted content. Other recent and forthcoming non-scripted series from Endemol Shine China include “Puzzle Masters,” a collaboration with Vision Media aired on Jiangsu TV, and the international format distribution of the cultural studio show “The Nation’s Greatest Treasures” with CCTV.
In the works had also been local-language scripted co-productions of TV Land’s “Younger” (with Huace Group), Kudos and AMC’s “Humans” (with Croton Media and Matador), as well as “Broadchurch” (with Blue&White&Red Pictures) and “Cloudwood.”
“We are incredibly proud of what has been achieved over the past five years by the team on the ground in China. The business environment has changed for everyone and, with the current landscape, it has grown increasingly difficult for the company to structure a business based on sustainable growth,” said Endemol Shine China’s managing director, William Tan, who will oversee the transition.