2021-06-08 20:01:23

STVFORUM | Explore New Modes of International Communication and Tell the World the Chinese Stories


With the increasingly deepening of economic globalization, social informatization, and internationalization of communication, how to take advantages of audio-visual media, highlight the cultural charm, and show the true China in a three-dimensional and comprehensive way are the thought-provoking topics of common concern among TV workers at present. At the “New Situation, New Platform, New Opportunity-International Television Cooperation Forum” held today, industry insiders expressed their opinions on how to tell the world the Chinese stories, and discussed new channels, new modes and new content of international communication.


Prior to the start of the forum, Yan Chengsheng, Director of the International Cooperation Department of the National Radio and Television Administration, delivered a welcome speech. He said that in recent years, the National Radio and Television Administration has been devoted to promoting Chinese culture to go global, and has made considerable progress in content construction, channel construction, and brand building, with the international influence and market share improved significantly. Yet, he also stressed that it must be recognized that the task of content and method innovation is still very heavy, we need to keep in mind our mission of connecting China and the rest of the world, and we should, with an open, confident, modest and amiable attitude, communicate with the world through high-quality, warm, and emotional audio-visual products, to let the international community see a real, lovely and respectable China in a three-dimensional and comprehensive fashion.


Spread China's positive energy to the world


The epidemic has brought unprecedented impact and influence to the domestic TV industry, but it also provides a rare opportunity for domestic excellent film and television content to go global. Yu Jie, Vice President of Oriental Pearl Group Co., Ltd., and General Manager of SMG Pictures and Wings Media, brought their successful cases. On September 29, 2020, just a few months after China's victory in the battle against the epidemic, “With You”, the era-based drama about the fight against the epidemic, was broadcast in China. For SMG Pictures, one of the producers, their next step is to promote the drama to overseas markets. Through the joint efforts of the producer’s team, it is finally screened on platforms in more than ten different countries and regions synchronously, and special screenings were successively held at international festivals, which was of far-reaching significance under the circumstances at the time.


In addition, a batch of anti-epidemic themed programs produced by SMG have been exported one after another through the Wings Media and have achieved satisfactory performance in Southeast Asia, Europe, North America and South America. Yu Jie believes that successful global distribution is not only about exporting cultural products, but also about spreading China's positive energy to the world and bringing more hope and confidence to people around the world.


After more than a year of exploration, Yu Jie summed up the key to success against all odds in three Chinese characters –“Zhuan (Special)” refers to the establishment of special channels, special brand areas, and special sceenings on overseas platforms to promote the content of domestic film and television works to spread across the global Internet; “Yun (Virtual)” is mainly about virtual exhibition, virtual trading, and virtual promotion, which makes possible the transformation from offline to online; “Chuang (Creation)” is aimed at “translation” and “model”, such as the documentary “The Tokyo Trial” is translated into multiple languages, which facilitated its distribution in overseas countries, and the German version of the variety show “Our Song” is exported in the form of model authorization, allowing the role of domestic variety shows turn from “buyer” to “seller”.


Deepen communication and understanding between China and foreign countries


As a well-known documentary brand, National Geographic has been dedicated to the selection, telling and communication of Chinese stories. Dai Hua, General Manager of Media and Original Content at the Walt Disney Company (China) Limited, said that in the past 10 years, National Geographic and its domestic partners have filmed and produced nearly 200 hours of Chinese-themed content.


Dai Hua also specially shared the creation process of the documentary “Homestay China” which brings China’s poverty alleviation under spotlight. “This is the first Chinese-foreign co-production work focusing on targeted poverty alleviation depicted through the experience of foreigners. It interprets China’s rural changes from an international perspective. To narrate through the perspective of the personal experience of foreigner is one of our commonly used creative techniques, and sometimes, they will eat, live and labor with the locals. In this way, we can enhance the communication and persuasive power of storytelling overseas”.


The program “China Revealed” launched by National Geographic in 2016 is the only Chinese content of the international media group covering the whole world so far. 500 million families in more than 170 countries and regions around the world can watch this China-themed documentary at a fixed time, which serves as a window to show China to the world. He said, “Through the production and communication of content, we hope to deepen the communication and understanding between China and foreign countries, arouse everyone’s sense of responsibility for the earth on which they live, stimulate everyone’s curiosity, give them the courage and strength to move forward, and tell what’s happening at the very present in China”.



Lay emphasis on overseas localized communication


Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation has always regarded international communication as an important strategy for its development. Qiu Yuanyuan, Director of International Affairs Department and Director of International Channel of Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, and General Manager of the International Communication Co., Ltd. under Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation, shared the successful export of the variety show “You Are the One”. In the early stage of launching the program, through market research, they learned that there are certain cultural differences that may hinder the localization of the program in Australia. “In order to bridge this difference, we worked specifically with the translation and subtitling team of Western Sydney University to successfully interpret and decode the large number of narrations in “You Are the One” with Australian local culture. Therefore, local audiences could also learn about the development of contemporary Chinese society and the positive mental world of Chinese young people through the program.”


Qiu Yuanyuan said that Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation attaches great importance to the localization of Chinese creativity overseas, especially the development and output of original program models. In 2018, the model of Jiangsu Satellite TV's prime original program “The Amazing Magicians” was successfully imported into Vietnam with a local version produced. “This is the first time that China's original variety show model has been successfully  localized through independent distribution channels, marking the major breakthrough of overseas localization of Chinese variety shows.”


In addition, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation has also explored a new path for international cooperation and co-production. The documentary “Scars of Nanking” is one of the masterpieces. This work has been translated into 17 languages and broadcasted in over 120 countries and regions in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, bringing about a wide range of influence.


Seek close international cooperation


Wei Keran, Vice President and Chief Content Editor of East Asia and Southeast Asia of Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI), shared the unique methods of DCI’s various platforms to create content in China. “Previously, the models of many international production were simply transplanted. Overseas teams came to China to create programs in China and broadcast them globally. It might have worked before. Now if you want to attract local audiences, this model will not work. We have to work closely with local partners to conduct research and content production. The Chinese market is now maturing rapidly, and China is using digital technology extensively, so if we want to attract Chinese audiences, we must cooperate more closely with local partners, and then dig out high-quality content that will interest local audiences.”


He also mentioned the advantages of DCI, “If you cooperate with DCI, you can better attract young Chinese audiences, because now Chinese young audiences are also very globalized and internationalized.” He mentioned a collaboration between DCI and Bilibili – “Ed Stafford: First Man Out” as an example, “This work has more than 50 million views, and it has received a very high praise.”


Roundtable Forum: Actively respond to international communication challenges



After the keynote speech, a round table forum was also held on the spot, and many industry guests talked about their views on the opportunities and challenges facing international communication at the moment. Cai Danxiang, Assistant to the General Manager of the Program Agency Department and Director of the Overseas Marketing Department of China International Television Corporation (CITVC), taking the TV series “Tribes and Empires” as an example, introduced the difficulties and solutions of overseas distribution: “To have an ancient costume TV series of more than 70 episodes screened at the prime time on the mainstream Italian public TV channel is very difficult. Through multiple rounds of exchanges, we transformed it into a seasonal version, and it will be broadcasted on Christmas Day in 2020 and New Year in 2021 respectively. The ratings are very good. The first-round average ratings reached 1.35, 35% higher than before.”



Li Fude, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Century UU, said that the epidemic is very challenging. The most direct influence is that we cannot film abroad. “We have met the current shooting needs through technological means. The Thai team filmed and produced, and some materials were transmitted to China for us to combine real people with the scenes. This is an opportunity brought by technology.”



Ren Shiwu, Deputy General Manager of NewTV, believes that the biggest challenge is how to tell the Chinese story well, “It must be a content suitable for foreign users and audiences.” He cited the TV series “Minning Town” as an example, “It is a Chinese mainstream work, and will be a blockbuster. After it was screened on overseas streaming media platforms, overseas users commented a lot. It may be our most commented drama so far. This effect exceeded our expectations at the time of purchase. In the end, the story filmed has won not only Chinese audiences, but also foreign audiences.”



Xiong Zhihui, Founder of iABC and Deputy Secretary-general of the Micro Video and Short Film Committee of the China Federation of Radio and Television Associations, said: “I think that between people, whether from the perspective of natural attributes or social attributes, the common points are still more than the differences, so works that have achieved commercial success overseas are definitely also popular in China. Those winning the domestic market may not be accepted well overseas, but works with poor performance in China will definitely not achieve success overseas.”


Host Units: State Administration of Radio and Television   China Media Group   Shanghai Municipal People's Government

沪公网安备 31010602001102号