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Media players look for deals

By Amy He in New York (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-07 10:49

Chinese comedy series being adapted for a US audience is part of trend between two countries

The announcement that a Chinese comedy series will be adapted for the US TV market comes at a time when media players in the US and Chinese markets are exploring ways to tap into audiences on the Chinese mainland and the United States.

Keshet International, the global distribution and production arm of Israeli media company Keshet Media Group - which has a subsidiary in the US - announced a deal on Monday with Huace Group/Croton Media to turn the Dating Hunter series into a US show. As part of it, Huace Group/Croton Media will adapt two of Keshet International's comedies into Chinese versions for the US market.

Liu Zhi, Huace/Croton vice-president, called the deal a "win-win" arrangement to bring more Chinese content to the international market.

It marks the first time a Chinese comedy is being adapted for the US market where the reverse usually happens. The increasing popularity of China-made content within the US market is enticing production companies to replicate the success elsewhere, though China has historically not been a source for such content, said Phil Contrino, vice-president and chief analyst at

"If you're talking about remaking popular products in China and translating it to American culture - both in language and the situations - of course there is opportunity. Content can always be tweaked. If the core piece of content is what is appealing, then it can always be tweaked to play in other cultures," he said in an interview.

The announcement by Keshet International and Huace/Croton is set against the backdrop of more and more partnerships in the film and TV industries that involve China and the US, and executives have said recently that they expect more in the future.

"There's a willingness on both sides to engage in a meaningful way," said Brian Goldsmith, COO of Santa Monica, California-based Lionsgate a producer and distributor of films. "There's that intangible feeling that you can do more business. The bar of what's a big commercial box office success in China has really shifted."

Goldsmith made his comments at the end of September at a US-China film and television expo in Los Angeles that featured a number of executives who voiced similar sentiments.

Donald Tang, founding partner of Las Vegas-based Tang Media Partners, said that Hollywood needs financing from China and China needs the US for storytelling.

"The West has an insatiable appetite for Chinese stories; it just hasn't been expressed in the right way," he said, according to Variety, which put on the expo.

Contrino predicts there will be more partnerships between Hollywood studios and Chinese companies to make more Chinese-language films for domestic Chinese audiences.

"It's clear when you look at the success of movies like Monster Hunt and now Lost In Hong Kong that Chinese filmmakers are becoming much better at creating content that's going to appeal to their fellow citizens. I think Hollywood can see it as two levels that they can succeed on. They can succeed by importing their blockbusters, which they already do, and they can succeed by getting into business with talented Chinese filmmakers and making China-specific movies," he said.

Stanley Rosen, Chinese film expert and a professor at the University of Southern California's US-China Institute, said that the annual film quotas - only 34 foreign-made films are allowed to be shown in China - and blackout dates preventing foreign films from getting released during holidays means other avenues need to be explored to make off of the Chinese box office, which is set to overtake the US box office in the next few years.

"It makes a lot of sense for Hollywood to make Chinese-language films in partnership with Chinese companies. Those films can be very successful. That really is the way to go," he said.

 Media players look for deals

Zhu Yuchen (right) and Guo Jingfei play two dating coaches in the Chinese TV comedy series Dating Hunter, which will be adapted for the US TV market. Provided To China Daily

(China Daily 10/07/2015 page2)

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