BBC Studios and Chinese online entertainment platform Bilibili have announced a strategic cooperation agreement that expands on their past cooperation efforts. It includes a project featuring Liu Cixin, the sci-fi novelist whose “Three Body Problem” adaptation at Netflix has raised questions from U.S. senators.
The two companies say that they plan to increase commissioning of new content and to jointly develop BBC Studios or Bilibili IP for the Chinese market. It covers documentary and science content and potentially an animation project.
They are exploring the potential for BBC Studios to invest in Bilibili-produced content and for the BBC to bring the Chinese content experience to the global stage.
Factual programs that feature segments about Chinese culture will be at the forefront. Several documentaries inspired by the long history of Chinese civilization, Chinese culture, and including Chinese voices are currently in preparation, they say.
The enhanced framework will also see Bilibili become a co-production partner in China for new BBC Studios factual titles, including forthcoming BBC Studios series “The Green Planet” and “Mating Game.”
The partnership will also give Bilibili greater access to BBC Studios drama and comedy titles. Bilibili will have the exclusive VOD rights in China to BBC Studios’ new scripted fantasy show “The Watch,” and older scripted content “Top Gear” and “Doctor Who.”
The BBC Studios Science Unit will work with Bilibili to produce a newly commissioned science series, “Odyssey into the Future,” featuring Liu.
“This more advanced strategic partnership with Bilibili is a significant breakthrough, as it will help us to further explore the potential of China’s content industry,” said Jon Penn, executive VP BBC Studios Asia Pacific (APAC). “China is one of the fastest-changing and most dynamic media markets in the world. This long-term partnership with Bilibili which will see BBC Studios deepen its participation in China.”
“BBC Studios not only brings valuable production expertise to the table, but also has a strong brand recognition and influence around the world. Looking forward, we are committed to leveraging the strengths of both parties to explore more diverse content together. We will collaborate to create high-quality productions while bringing more Chinese original content to overseas markets,” said Li Ni, Bilibili vice chairwoman and COO.
Bilibili’s existing content library already contains more than 3,000 documentaries, including titles it produced and others it co-produced.