China and UK seal significant deals for TV, film co-production
Rebecca Hawkes | 25-04-2014
The Producers Alliance for Cinema and TV (PACT) and Chinese state broadcaster CCTV have signed a memorandum of understanding to help foster greater collaboration between the UK production sector and Chinese broadcasters.

The news comes a day after UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and China's Vice Minister Tong Gang of the State Administration of Radio, Film & Television (SARFT) signed a major film treaty negotiated for the UK by the British Film Institute (BFI) with support from the DCMS and UK Trade & Investment in Beijing.

The treaty will provide eligible co-productions in the UK with access to the Film Tax Relief and the BFI Film Fund, which is the UK's largest public film fund. In addition, eligible co-productions will not be subject to China's quota on foreign films, which only permits a limited number of non-domestic titles to be shown in Chinese cinemas each year.

Films made as China/UK co-productions will be able to access the second highest box office audience in the world, worth US$2.7 billion and forecast to grow to $5.5 billion by 2017, according to a UK Government statement.

"The treaty will strengthen ties between our countries' film industries, encouraging the sharing of knowledge and ideas as well as driving economic growth through film production," said Ed Vaizey. "It will also enhance our respective cultural understanding and awareness through the making of films that reflect, enhance and convey the diversity of culture and heritage in both countries."

In a further television-related deal, CCTV is to sign a contract to broadcast two children's series from Silvergate Media. The agreement covers 50 episodes of pre-school animation series Octonauts, starting in July 2014, and 58 episodes of Peter Rabbit, an animated adaptation of the Beatrix Potter classic, starting in January 2015.

Octonauts first launched on CBeebies, the BBC's children's channel, in 2010 and is now broadcast in the US by Disney and in Germany, France, Australia and many other countries.