Australian Sky News wins China TV deal with CCTV

19 August 2011 20 h 48 min 14 comments

On 17 August, Sky News (which is part-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s British Sky Broadcasting, Seven West Media Ltd and the Nine Network) has signed a $223m deal with Chinese state television network CCTV to run Australia’s official TV service broadcasts in China, according to a Fairfax Media report.

The agreement means live and breaking news stories from Sky News will be broadcast in China with reciprocal rights back into Australia.

In a statement, Sky News and CCTV said: “For the first time, Australian major news events will be seen live in China, and major Chinese news events seen live on Australia’s news channel.”

A first step before Australia Network ?

The deal is a victory for Sky in its battle with public broadcaster ABC to secure the rights to operate the Australia Network, the government’s official service for broadcasting local content across Asia.

According to observers, a Chinese presence was the key reason a panel set up to evaluate the bids for the Australia Network contract backed Sky in May but the government overturned the decision. The contract is now set to be awarded in September after the government reopened the tender.

According to RapidTV, “Sky News thinks that China is reluctant to broadcast foreign content without a reciprocal deal and that is why its bid had an edge over the ABC. The deal won’t provide it with a permanent presence on Chinese TV screens, but it is a foot in the door for the broadcaster.”

In the past years, ABC and Sky have already signed reciprocal programming agreements with the Shanghai Media Group. ABC has also established a longstanding broad relationship with CCTV, and last year signed a cooperative agreement with Chongqing Television and Radio Group.

SOURCES: businessspectator.com (18/08/2011), RapidTVNews (19/08/2011)

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