As president of JSBC International, Yuanyuan Qiu‘s chief mandate is to look forward, and outward, for opportunity.
She heads up the international commercial arm of one of China’s largest broadcasting groups, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, and as such, oversees the international business development of the parent company, which encompasses international distribution and acquisition of content, and coproduction among other areas. And with the Western world viewing China as a market potentially rich with promise (and profit), she is keen to exploit JSBC’s content globally while striking up international partnerships that will strengthen both its catalog and its position in an increasingly global marketplace.
That requires outreach to potential partners in international markets, in order to both suss out mutually beneficial opportunities, and, to an extent, demystify the Chinese media landscape. As a result, Qiu frequents several international markets, and is attending the Realscreen Summit for the first time as part of its Eastern Promise: Asia’s New Opportunities, New Players session.
Recent forays abroad have led to coproduction deals with such prominent non-fiction prodcos as Lion TV, resulting in China: Treasures Of the Jade Empire, which aired on Channel 4 in October. The one-hour project is also slated to air on Smithsonian Channel in the U.S., ARTE in France and JSBC in China. Qiu says the companies plan on working together on more copros, which could encompass such subjects as mega-cities along the ancient Silk Road and engineering wonders such as the Grand Canal, as part of “a strategic partnership, rather than just a cooperative project.”
In 2013, JSBC established a U.S. subsidiary, Golden Dreams Media and Communications, as what Qiu calls “an important move in JSBC’s international development strategy,” with an aim towards establishing it as “a base for our international co-production, distribution, channel operation and international training businesses.”
Tell us more about the impetus behind establishing a coproduction relationship with a Western production company, in this case, Lion TV.
It is our common belief that China, a country with long-standing history and a profound civilization, is now undergoing very rapid change and development. And thus we will need a great platform to let the world learn about its history, civilization and development. Therefore, JSBC and Lion TV will make joint efforts to establish such a platform and showcase a real China from a brand new perspective through our upcoming coproductions.
Aiming to start the new factual coproductions about Chinese and world civilization and culture with Lion TV, we look forward to carrying out at least one successful coproduction project every year.
What genres or subject matter is most attractive to you in terms of international coproduction?
We believe those [projects] telling people’s stories and showcasing unique cultures from a global perspective would be especially favored, with a perfect blend of cosmopolitan taste, national [relevance] and human nature.
Tell us more about your aims with the U.S. subsidiary.
JSBC is producing many high-quality documentaries, drama series, feature stories, animation series and so on. And therefore, we hope the establishment of the U.S. subsidiary will allow JSBC to optimize its advantageous resources by coproducing more competitive content in partnership with international producers.
In the meantime, it is our hope that the U.S. subsidiary would bring more and more U.S. media resources into the Chinese market… Gradually, with the U.S. subsidiary as our base, we do hope to take equity stake in international distribution and production companies and thus extend our presence in the international market.
In terms of formats, are there any new international formats you are looking to adapt and bring into China, and are there any new formats that your company has developed that you are planning on exporting to the international market?
While introducing and developing formats, we never have pre-set standards or conditions in mind, as we fully understand that the next hit show is always some different from all these standards. JSBC has been introducing various international formats to China during the previous years, including We Are in Love, The Brain, Ninja Warrior, King of Masked Singer, Who’s Still Standing, Raid the Cage, Stars in Danger: High Dive, My Man Can, Dance War, Who Dares Sings and many others.
During the past decade, dating, music and reality shows have been dominating the Chinese screen. And in the recent five years, while more and more broadcasters and producers are producing the Chinese version of international formats, they also witness rapid growth in the development and export of their original formats.
Stunt show Super Combat Teams and music reality show Be The Idol are among the original formats that we are planning on exporting to the international market… The format Super Combat Teams has been licensed to Scandinavian countries, whereas the bible of Be The Idol is under development.
It is our belief that as China is accumulating experience and resources in formats and production, it is sure to contribute its own bit to the development of the world TV formats industry in the next five years.