Television Broadcasts Limited H1 2012: profits up 18% YoY

23 August 2012 17 h 11 min Comments Off

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Turnover increased from HK$2,365 million to HK$2,451 million, an increase of 4%.
• Total costs increased from HK$1,338 million to HK$1,451 million, an increase of 8%.
Profit attributable to equity holders increased from HK$719 million to HK$850 million, and earnings per share increased from HK$1.64 to HK$1.94, an increase of 18%. This represents a record profit attributable to equity holders for the first half of a year.
• Interim dividend was declared at HK$0.60 per share (2011: HK$0.45 per share).

The Board of Directors of Television Broadcasts Limited are pleased to announce the unaudited interim results of the Company and its subsidiaries for the six months ended 30 June 2012 as follows:

Six months ended 30 June
Note                                                                               2012                  2011
HK$’000        HK$’000
Turnover                                                                  3 2,451,157     2,365,288
Cost of sales                                                             (895,088)      (839,948)
Gross profit                                                               1,556,069       1,525,340
Other revenues                                                           4 34,470            19,659
Selling, distribution and transmission costs        (246,501)      (231,703)
General and administrative expenses                   (309,087)      (266,142)
Other (losses)/gains, net                                               (1,252)            9,662
Finance costs                                                                    (2,019)         (2,004)
Share of losses of:
Jointly controlled entities                                                  (821)          (1,164)
Associates                                                                               (195)       (28,951)
Profit before income tax                                         5 1,030,664    1,024,697
Income tax expense 6                                                    (179,817)    (305,245)
Profit for the period                                                       850,847        719,452
Profit attributable to:
Equity holders of the Company                                   849,940       718,604
Earnings per share (basic and diluted)
for profit attributable to equity holders of the
Company during the period 7                                       HK$1.94     HK$1.64

Geographical split of revenues (Six months ended 30 June)

2012                2011
HK$’000        HK$’000
Hong Kong                             1,395,228       1,346,675
Taiwan                                        427,210          418,893
USA and Canada                        111,787           115,869
Australia                                       61,054            63,269
Europe                                         32,036             33,962
Mainland China                        135,001           110,690
Malaysia and Singapore          265,929          258,381
Other countries                            22,912             17,549
2,451,157      2,365,288


“For the Period, the Group’s turnover increased by 4% from HK$2,365 million to HK$2,451 million, and the profit before income tax increased by 1% from HK$1,025 million to HK$1,031 million. The Group’s profit attributable to equity holders increased by 18% from HK$719 million to HK$850 million, giving an earnings per share of HK$1.94 (2011: HK$1.64). I am very pleased to report that this represents another record profit attributable to equity holders for the first half of a year.

An interim dividend of HK$0.60 (2011: HK$0.45) per share has been declared for the 438,000,000 shares in issue of HK$0.05 each in respect of the Period. This interim dividend will be paid to shareholders on or around 5 October 2012, whose names are recorded on the Register of Members on 26 September 2012.


We continued to invest and produce drama serials and a wide genre of programmes to engage our audience in Hong Kong. During the Period, we succeeded in further increasing our ratings and market share for Jade and Pearl channels over last year. We saw a growth of 5.7% in advertising revenue from terrestrial TV broadcasting in Hong Kong over the same period of last year.
Under the current inflation cycle in Hong Kong, we reviewed and adjusted in July the salaries and wages of our employees to keep pace with the living cost increases and to award our better performers. These efforts, although gave rise to increase in costs, helped
maintain a robust workforce. We will continue to develop the television industry through our development programmes for script writers and artistic talents who will become an important part of our production team in the years to come.

On 8 August 2012 and after receiving the final approval and a business licence certificate from the relevant PRC authorities, we commenced our joint venture with the Shanghai Media Group and China Media Capital to further our business development including programme licensing and distribution business in mainland China. This marked the beginning of a very significant step forward for our business operations in the Mainland. I would like to wish the joint venture every success, and look forward to working closely with our partners in this venture.”

Norman Leung Nai Pang, Executive Chairman
Hong Kong, 22 August 2012




Advertising revenue from Hong Kong terrestrial TV broadcasting for the Period grew by 5.7% from HK$1,206 million to HK$1,274 million. Growth in revenue from the second quarter of 2012 was significant, given that the second quarter is usually a quiet quarter amongst the four quarters.
Spending in skin care/cosmetic products continued to show modest growth, and milk powder spending maintained its low double-digit growth. Digital/electronics equipment (cameras, mobile phones, tablet computers), restaurants and supermarket/stores contributed strong advertising revenue. With the exception of lending services/finance companies, spending in financial services categories (including banks and credit cards) continued to be weak. The key growing categories in the Period were mobile phone networks and digital/electronics equipment. Revenue in the Period was also exceptionally boosted by campaigns by China property developments, company anniversary campaigns (e.g. Citibank’s 200th Anniversary) and reunification projects. We continued to aggressively promote our integrated advertising packages to small and medium-sized advertisers (including our TV channels, online and magazine offerings) which generated positive response from the market.


During the Period, TVB attained even better TV rating1 results than last year, further strengthening its dominant position in the terrestrial free TV market. Jade2 achieved an average of 93% audience share3 during weekday primetime4, up from 86% in 2011. Pearl achieved an average of 83% share during weekly primetime5, versus 78% in 2011.

High-quality, in-house produced drama serials remained a key attraction for our audience. The Hippocratic Crush, headlined by Tavia Yeung Yi and Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming, was the toprated title for the Period, achieving 31 TVRs and 94% share on average. The hospital drama, which featured up-and-coming artistes such as Law Chung Him and Mandy Wong Chi Man, revolved around the lives of young doctors and their mentors.

1 TV rating (TVR) represents the size of the audience expressed as a percentage of the total TV population.
For 2012, the total TV population comprises 6,407,000 viewers, and therefore, 1 TVR represents 64,070
viewers (1% of the total TV population). TV ratings data source: CSM Media Research.
2 During weekday primetime, Jade is defined as an aggregate of Jade and HD Jade (“Total Jade”).
3 Audience share (%) is the percentage of ratings of particular channel(s) over the total ratings of the base
channels for a specific period of time. The base Chinese channels are Total Jade and Asia Television
Limited’s Home. The base English channels are Pearl and Asia Television Limited’s World. TV ratings
data source: CSM Media Research.
4 Jade’s weekday primetime runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. between Monday and Friday.
5 Pearl’s weekly primetime runs from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. between Monday and Sunday.

Drama themes echoing social issues and phenomenon continued to gain audience acclaim in 2012, which included Wish and Switch, a comedy about a housewife’s obsession with a website that lets her exchange what she owns for anything she wants; L’Escargot, which explored the problems faced by the younger generation who could not afford to buy their own apartments; and No Good Either Way, which depicts the lives of Hong Kong employees and their abusive bosses.

A new weekday family situation comedy Come Home Love – launched in May after Til Love Do Us Lie wrapped up – achieved stable average ratings of 25 TVRs. To strengthen weekend primetime programming, we strategically scheduled the airing of five drama series’ finales on Sundays. Furthermore, a new police TV drama, Tiger Cubs was scheduled on Saturday and Sunday night-time slots – the second one since The File of Justice in 1995. The debut episode of Tiger Cubs on 24 June (Sunday) achieved an average rating of
29 TVRs, which was 59% higher than the ratings recorded in the corresponding time slots of the four Sundays prior to its airing.

In the non-drama category, the breakout programme was Bride Wannabes, a reality show featuring five single women in their pursuit of “Mr. Right”. It achieved an average rating of 25 TVRs, an 18% increase over the programmes broadcast in the same time slot in 2011. The show also captured strong online ratings6 of 3.1 TVRs. Other popular titles included a new game show, Battle of the Senses, and a new travelogue, Homecoming, featuring TVB artistes returning to their hometowns in mainland China and introducing local cultures to the audience. These shows achieved strong average ratings of 27 TVRs and 21 TVRs, respectively.

During Chinese New Year, TVB successfully engaged the audience by introducing an interactive game called CNY Lucky where viewers could send their answers via smart phone during the Chinese New Year period and win prize money in the form of red packets. More than nine million votes received over the three-day event between 23 January and 25 January, and a total of 123 red packets worth HK$738,000 were given away. The game boosted the ratings of CNY Fireworks Display 2012 and 2012 Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade by 28% and 24% respectively compared to the same programmes aired in 2011.

Since 7 May, we began including a session called Pearl Tonight in Jade’s infotainment programme, Scoop, on weekdays as part of our cross-channel promotion. This measure helped push up Pearl’s primetime ratings to a monthly high of 1.9 TVRs in June.

Documentaries as well as variety and reality shows continued to be well received. Life on Fire, a documentary on volcanoes, attracted an average rating of 4.7 TVRs and 83% share in June; Breaking the Magician’s Code: Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed also
achieved high ratings of 4.4 TVRs on weekends in June; and Junior MasterChef Australia – strategically scheduled to air on two weekdays per week, attained 21% higher ratings than its previous season broadcast in 2011.

6 Data sourced from Nielsen SiteCensus and then converted based on TV ratings formula.

Movies on Pearl remained its top attractions. Blockbuster The Day the Earth Stood Still became the top-rated English channel programme during the Period, with an average rating of 10 TVRs and 97% share. A series of new dramas produced by acclaimed director Steven Spielberg, including Terra Nova and Falling Skies, drew many fans and reached an average rating of 2.1 TVRs and 2.0 TVRs as of June, respectively.

Under the joint effort of the Government and three local TV stations, an agreement was reached in July 2012 to allow the two terrestrial TV stations, being TVB and Asia Television Limited (“ATV”), to carry the London 2012 Olympic Games allowing Hong Kong audiences to follow the events on the free-to-air channels, in addition to the more comprehensive coverage on a pay TV station. Under this agreement, TVB and ATV jointly produced for the first time the Olympics live programmes and event highlights totalling 200 hours, which were broadcast and shared between TVB and ATV channels. This service attracted good TV ratings on Pearl. Continuing its upward trend, HD Jade attracted a weekly average of 2.7 million viewers in its non-simulcast time slot during the first six months, representing a 24% increase over the same period in 2011.

Acquired major Mainland dramas such as Three Kingdoms and high-quality documentaries, including Frozen Planet and When The Louvre And The Forbidden City Come Together, contributed to the high-definition channel’s success. In June, it carried a simulcast
of four live matches from the UEFA EURO 2012 – a much-awaited international sports event for soccer fans. The final match, Spain Vs. Italy, achieved an outstanding rating of 8 TVRs and 95% share, representing a 53% increase over the UEFA EURO Final in 2008.

J2’s ratings also improved during its primetime (Mon-Sun 19:00-24:00) by 50% in the first six months over the same period last year, making it the second highest rated channel (after Total Jade) during weekday primetime (Mon-Fri 19:00-24:00) since May. In-house productions continued to strengthen during the Period, including the launch of a new talk show by famous DJ Vincci Cheuk, I Know Men, in January. Travelogues remained the most attractive genre for J2’s audience, with average ratings increasing by 42% compared to the same time slot7 last year. A new series of travelogues, When in Taiwan and Singapore Galore, were introduced in March and May respectively; both were well received. To strengthen its music programme offerings, J2 continued to serve as the official broadcaster of this year’s Hong Kong Asian-Pop Music Festival, which aims to identify and promote new singers who have regional appeal.

iNews, which underwent a revamp on 30 June, remained the most watched 24-hour news channel in Hong Kong. On 25 March, the day of the Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 80% of the audience tuned in to TVB. The station boosted its news coverage by appointing the Chinese University of Hong Kong to conduct four opinion polls of the Chief Executive candidates from December 2011 to the week prior to the election. The 2012 Chief Executive Candidates Forum achieved an average rating of 31 TVRs on Jade – 31% higher than the same programme telecasted in 2007, while the Chief Executive Election Debate 2012 attained an average of 29 TVRs. 7 J2’s travelogue time slot runs from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. between Monday and Friday.


From April 2012, TVB provides an additional channel, TVB Encore, which assembles TVB Jade’s weekly primetime programmes for same-day review. The 12 channels being supplied are TVB Lifestyle; TVB Drama; TVB Classic; TVB Select; TVB Entertainment News; TVB Kids; TVB Food; TVB Movies; TVBM (a music channel); TVBN and TVBN2 (both offering 24-hour news service) and TVB Encore.

As further explained under Investment in Hong Kong Pay TV Platform, from 1 January 2012, TVB supplies the channels to TVB Pay Vision Limited (“TVBPV”) in exchange for an additional 25% share, which TVBPV was previously entitled to, of the advertising revenue that can be generated from the said channels.


The growth in digital household penetration continued at the approximate pace of 2.5% per quarter (10% per year), reaching 71.4% of all households by June 2012 (previous quarter: 69.2%).

We are in the final stages of securing approval for changing the source coding of the Multi Frequency Network (MFN) which currently simulcasts our Jade and Pearl channels from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4. When this is approved, we will be in a position to broadcast Pearl in high definition. Three technical trials are also being prepared, in cooperation with Radio Television Hong Kong. The first is to test the impact of using more advanced channel coding (PN420) to improve the bit rate yield. The second test is for the new advanced Chinese DTT standard called DMBT Advanced. Finally, the broadcasting of 3DTV over the air will also be tested. These trials will be conducted from September to November 2012.


Advertising revenue from grew by 54% over last year in the Period. This strong growth helped compensate for a drop in licensing income from other mobile operations, resulting in an overall gross revenue growth of 36% for the first half.
The dedicated efforts of the online sales, traffic and research teams to monetise every piece of online inventory resulted in high sell-through rates and premium CPM’s. In-stream video advertising sell-through rates exceeded practical operational limits (usually 70-80%), achieving over 90% throughout most of the quarter. Other ad units that sold well were wallpaper and first-fold banner ads on key pages (home page, category index pages). A major development in the monetisation of myTV Mobile is the launch of mid-roll instream video ads. This was achieved in June and we look forward to significant mobile advertising revenue contribution in the second half of this year. The TVB News App has also undergone final stages of debugging and trial, and will be launched in the third quarter.


PAY TV BUSINESS Investment in Hong Kong Pay TV Platform

As reported in the 2011 Annual Report, the Group’s economic interest in TVB Pay Vision Holdings Limited (“TVBPVH”) was further increased from 62% to 90% during the Period, through the acquisition of additional non-voting shares in TVBPVH under two sale and purchase agreements for a total cash consideration of HK$194 million. The Group’s voting interest in TVBPVH remains at 15%. As the Group does not exercise control over TVBPVH, the income statement and the statement of financial position of TVBPVH are equity accounted for as an associate in the accounts of the Group.

During the Period, the channel supply arrangement between TVB and TVB Pay Vision Limited (the operating subsidiary of TVBPVH) has been restructured. Under the revised terms, TVB supplies, from 1 January 2012, the channels to TVBPV in exchange for an additional 25% share, which TVBPV was previously entitled to, of the advertising revenue that can be generated from the said channels.

TVB’s share of TVBPVH’s net loss for the Period was approximately HK$195,000, as a result of equity accounting of losses during the Period (2011: a net loss of HK$29 million).


TVB continues to produce movies under a joint venture with Shaw Productions Ltd. “I Love Hong Kong 2012″ was released in Hong Kong and the international markets in January 2012. The Hong Kong box office reached HK$20 million during Chinese New Year. Production for a new movie – “Buddy Cops” is targeted for release in Hong Kong in October 2012.


Results in the second quarter had improved over the first quarter, resulting in 8% turnover growth and a modest profit of HK$2 million. The actions to revamp TVB Weekly reached a conclusive stage in the second quarter. On 9 July 2012, TVB Weekly was re-launched at a lower cover price of HK$10 and restructured into two books. The first book consists of many feature stories and lifestyle articles. The second book, called “TVB Zone” is a more focused offering of our programme schedules and detailed programme synopses. These actions provide a foundation for the future development of a hybrid paid and free magazine model.



Revenue from programme licensing and distribution grew 9% from HK$425 million to HK$463 million during the Period. Strong revenue growth was recorded from licensing of our programmes in traditional markets. This business continued to contribute growth in segment profit from HK$284 million to HK$313 million, representing an increase of 10%.

In Malaysia, the economy was affected by the government election as most of the advertisers withheld their budgets pending the outcome of the election. Given that our three-year supply agreement with ASTRO All Asia Networks plc (“ASTRO”) will expire in the first quarter of 2013, TVB and ASTRO have begun discussions on the terms for renewal. As the major content provider to Wah Lai Toi channel under the ASTRO platform, TVB will devote additional resources to develop local production so as to strengthen our position in the Malaysian market against competition from other importers of programmes from Asia.

In Singapore, we are working well with our business partner StarHub Cable Vision Ltd, despite increasing competition from the Korean and Taiwanese imported programmes which have been eroding our audience base. More resources will be allocated to promote our content via different media platforms in an attempt to recoup the younger generation.

In Vietnam, a multi-year contract for distributing TVB Vietnamese drama channel was concluded with Saigontourist Cable Television Company Limited (“SCTV”), the largest cable network in Vietnam which has a market share of over 60% and covers key cities including Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. TVB Vietnamese drama channel also captured the highest rating among other channels on the SCTV platform. This new multi-year contract is seen as a critical step to a successful collaboration with key operators in developing countries.

Riding on the success in Vietnam, TVB continues to widen our network for distribution of our programmes in non-traditional markets. In the first half of 2012, preliminary studies on market potential were undertaken for Indochina markets including Indonesia and Cambodia, as well as for the Latin America markets covering Argentina, Brazil, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. These countries represent new markets to us, and due to the substantial population of Chinese residents in key cities, we believe the demand for Chinese language programmes will be strong. We started discussions with local operators who have expressed interest in carrying TVB channels or distributing TVB programmes. In the course of the next few months, we will be finalising our distribution strategies.


A joint venture named 上海翡翠東方傳播有限公司 (“TVBC”) between TVB, the Shanghai Media Group (“SMG”) and China Media Capital (“CMC”) in the shareholding ratio of 55% owned by TVB and in aggregate of 45% owned by SMG and CMC received the final approval and a business licence certificate from the relevant PRC authorities on 8 August 2012. TVBC will carry the primary objective to distribute TVB programmes and develop other business initiatives with TVB’s wealth of resources throughout mainland China. The key business scope of TVBC includes the licensing of TVB programmes to TV stations and Internet portals in the Mainland, the management and distribution of two TVB Hong Kong channels (Jade and Pearl) in Guangdong Province. TVBC will also handle matters in relation to the stage performance of our management artistes in the Mainland.

The uptrend in China revenue continued in the first six months of 2012 and outgrew the nation’s GDP for the period by far. In the midst of the cooling mainland China marketplace especially in the media business, our business in the first half of the year grew as budgeted. The growth was attributed to the increasing episodic price of our drama serials. The somewhat conservative GDP growth projection in 2012 by the PRC government reflects its concerns of the overall economy. In addition, a series of SARFT (The State Administration of Radio Film and Television) policies which was issued to cool down the rapid growth in the Chinese TV programme market began to make an impact. However, relaxation of some of those policies that control drama types is expected after a cool down period. As a major importer of programmes into mainland China, our business performance has been much affected by the local policies and political environment. Through TVBC, we hope to transform our business in the mainland China market from licensing and distribution to one with involvement in different dimensions of the media industry. We will have the opportunities to participate in the production of local dramas by means of investment, trades of production resources such as artistes, scripts, etc. Revenue opportunities in product placements inside the dramas that TVBC will take part in can be created by the synergies with TVB’s advertising functions.


Overall in this Period, the turnover for the three TVB platforms overseas recorded a turnover of HK$187 million (2011: HK$193 million), representing a decline of 3%. The decline was attributable to certain loss of subscribers due to online pirated programmes. In this segment, we have established an internal task force to combat against the illegal practice on a continuous basis.

. During the Period, a brand new Vietnamese pay TV service comprising two channels was launched in Australia. The response from the local Vietnamese community was positive. In addition, we enriched the content of the Chinese language channel package by replacing two existing Mandarin channels with Mei Ah Movie Channel and Star Movie Channel which have wider appeal. This helped raise the monthly subscription fee by around 7%.

. In Europe, we introduced a new IPTV service after a six month trial period, alongside our satellite distribution. A new Chinese movie channel will be added to the existing Cantonese package to further enhance the channel line-up.

. In USA, the business was relatively stable with slight growth in advertising income during the Period.

In all of the markets, online piracy is rampant. It has already affected our subscription services in USA, Australia and Europe. TVB is taking a serious and aggressive stance to curb illegal distribution of programme content and, as mentioned above, a dedicated task force comprising of legal and IT experts has been set up to combat infringement actions, including raiding the sources of illegal contents.



More robust revenue and success in reducing spending in the second quarter helped overcome a lackluster first quarter. The growth in revenue was made since the start of the year represented a testimony to our sales team’s spectacular effort. As the typhoon season arrived earlier than usual, the news channel received an unexpected lift. Incremental improvements in both ratings and advertisement buys for the entertainment channel were the factors contributing to an exceptional first half.

However, the prospect for the second half is less encouraging as there will be no election to boost revenue this time. The summer months have never been a strong period for TVBS due to our consistent lack of entertainment programming favoured by younger viewers. Therefore, the third quarter will probably be a difficult one. The fourth quarter, we hope, will help us hold the fort and as long as there are no downside surprises.


TVB8 and Xing He

The cautious spending behaviour of advertisers before election in Malaysia had a negative impact on the business. Total revenue experienced a drop of 7% to HK$54 million.

Nonetheless, positive feedback was received for carrying TVB8 channel in Malaysia on a new platform via Telecom Malaysia (TM Net) IPTV services. The subscription performance was promising with an intake of around 10,000 subscribers during the Period. Xing He channel has been well received by the audiences and advertisers in both Malaysia and Singapore. To widen distribution in Asia, TVB8 channel will also be distributed to Indonesia with Bahasa subtitle in the fourth quarter of 2012. More local events will be organised in the region to enhance the publicity of both TVB8 and Xing He channels e.g. International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship and International New Era Chinese Kung Fu Competition.



For the six months ended 30 June 2012, the Group recorded a turnover of HK$2,451 million (2011: HK$2,365 million), representing an increase of 4% over the same period of last year.
Cost of sales amounted to HK$895 million (2011: HK$840 million), representing an increase of 7% over the same period of last year. Gross profit for the Period stood at HK$1,556 million (2011: HK$1,525 million).
Included in cost of sales were the cost of programmes, film rights and stocks for the Period which amounted to HK$594 million (2011: HK$539 million), representing an increase of 10% over the same period of last year.
Selling, distribution and transmission costs for the Period amounted to HK$247 million (2011:HK$232 million), an increase of 6% over the same period of last year, mainly due to increase in staff costs in Hong Kong.
General and administrative expenses for the Period amounted to HK$309 million (2011:HK$266 million), representing an increase of 16% over the same period of last year.
During the Period, the Group’s economic interest in an associate, TVBPVH increased from 62% to 90% while its voting interest remained at 15%. Effective 1 January 2012, TVBPV agreed to restructure the channel supply agreement (“Restructured Agreement”) which covers the supply of pay TV channels by TVB to TVBPV. Under the Restructured Agreement, TVB will provide the channels to TVBPV in exchange for an additional 25% share, which TVBPV was previously entitled to, of the advertising revenue which the pay channels generate. As a result, the Group’s share of the losses of TVBPVH reduced from HK$29 million for the six months ended 30 June 2011 to less than HK$0.2 million for the Period.
Income tax for the Period amounted to HK$180 million (2011: HK$305 million), a decrease of HK$125 million as a provision of HK$118 million relating to the tax challenge from the IRD on profits generated in prior years by the Group’s programme licensing and distribution business carried out overseas was included in 2011 and no such provision against profits generated in prior years was made during the six months ended 30 June 2012.
Overall, the Group’s profit attributable to equity holders amounted to HK$850 million (2011: HK$719 million), representing an increase of 18% over the same period of last year. The earnings per share was HK$1.94 (2011: HK$1.64).


The Group’s financial position remained strong. At 30 June 2012, total equity stood at HK$7,189 million (31 December 2011: HK$7,093 million).


At 30 June 2012, the Group employed, excluding Directors and freelance workers but including contract artistes and staff in overseas subsidiaries, a total of 4,411 full-time employees (31 December 2011: 4,251). About 27% of the Group’s manpower is employed in overseas subsidiaries and is paid on a scale and system appropriate to the respective localities and local legislations.

Full results

Source: TVB (22/08/2012)


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