Rebecca Hawkes | 18-04-2014
The international arm of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has expanded its relationship with Shanghai Media Group to distribute Australian television content across China, becoming only the third western nation to be afforded such privilege.
The deal will enable ABC International to establish an online portal through which ABC and other Australian concerns can offer content and services to Chinese media organisations, with full approval from the Chinese authorities. It will also establish an office in Shanghai.
ABC International CEO Lynley Marshall, said the agreement will "allow the ABC to put the full range of programming from its pan-Asian satellite channel, Australia Network, and content from other Australian media, into China – and for China to connect more closely with our media."
The Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film and TV supports what is termed an 'international multi-platform media co-operation arrangement'.
"This historic agreement opens up a whole new world of television and online cooperation between Australia and China," said Mark Scott, managing director, ABC. "It provides a truly unique window for all Australian media to build a friendly and mutually cooperative relationship with China."
Currently the BBC World Service and CNN International are the only Western broadcasters available in China, however these are limited to diplomatic compounds and international hotels.
The deal, which will reportedly be ratified on 4 May, follows a recent Australian Government trade mission to China, which included a first live broadcast from Shanghai of ABCTV current affairs show Q&A.
"Ground-breaking international broadcasts such as Q&A, which was produced as a collaboration between Australian and Chinese television crews, pave the way for bigger and better international media co-operation and cultural connections in the future," said Sun Wei, executive director of the Shanghai Media Group's International Channel Shanghai.
This deal expands on an agreement signed in 2010 between ABC and SMG, which allowed Australia Network programmes to screen on International Channel Shanghai. It also provided Shanghai Media Group with studio and production support in Australia.