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BBC Worldwide expands presence in Greater China with two new deals

MUMBAI: After signing deals with three pay-TV operators in South Korea, BBC Worldwide is now expanding its presence in Greater China by signing deals with free-to-air TV broadcaster in Hong Kong TVB and Tencent, leading provider of internet services in China.

The deal with TVB will enable Greater China to get more shows from BBC Worldwide, predominantly in areas of natural history and factual, to the biggest terrestrial broadcaster in Hong Kong.

BBC Worldwide Greater China VP and general manager Pierre Cheung said, “We are extremely excited about the two new deals. TVB has been a trusted partner of BBC Worldwide for many years now, and this deal has cemented our relationship. With Tencent, we’ve had immense success with drama titles in the past, with series one of Primeval raking in its highest ratings at 8 million views by the end of March 2014. Now, we are eager to explore new grounds with Tencent and expand our offerings on their VOD service.”

Starting in the second quarter of this year, viewers in Hong Kong will be privy to ‘How to Build a Planet’ a series where Richard Hammond explores how to build a planet that is just right for life; ‘Supergiant Animals’, a series tracking the adventures of Steve Backshall as he searches for the biggest creatures on the planet; and ‘Deadly Pole To Pole’ where Steve Backshall continues on his search for deadliest animals from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

Other programmes in the deal include entertainment, lifestyle and preschool titles such as ‘Sherlock’ (series three), ‘Michela’s Classic Italian’ and ‘Show Me Show Me’ (series four).

For the first time, Tencent has acquired factual programmes from BBC Worldwide. Over 60 natural history and factual titles will be available on Tencent’s VOD service, some of which include ‘Frozen Planet’ a seven-part series that focuses on life and the environment in both the Arctic and Antarctic and ‘Penguins – Spy in the Huddle’ a series that uses the latest spy cameras to give viewers a new perspective on their behaviour and extreme survival tactics. The programmes will be available from this month onwards.

Tencent Video chief editor Suman Wang said, “We had previously worked with BBC Worldwide to provide drama titles, and over the course of our relationship, we have seen its popularity soar. With the growing demand for factual content coupled with BBC Worldwide’s reputation for quality programmes, we are confident that the natural and factual titles will receive the same or even greater traction with our users.”