China Entertainment TV, in which Time Warner Inc holds a minority stake, is working on a multi-million-dollar shopping competition show it hopes will improve its bottom line by introducing a new form of advertising.
Anthony Tse, president of CETV, believes the show will supplement the network's advertising income through syndication revenue.
"For this show, we will have almost unlimited inventory to integrate brands," Tse said.
He said there was a "change in the advertising climate in that brand owners wanted to have their brand further integrated into the programs."
The show, co-produced with Swedish TV program maker Bringiton, is called Big Time Spender and shot in 12 Chinese cities.
The show gives contestants, divided in teams of two, a one-day shopping budget that will go up to one million Hong Kong dollars in the final for each team. Winners are judged by their tastes and awarded with what they have bought.
Tse added he was looking at the project with a view to getting the "right formula" rather than being too focused on the short-term delivery.
CETV, which has been losing money since Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing's TOM Group took control in 2003, is already in talks with mainland counterparts for distribution of the show and plans to make it accessible online, as its broadcasting is confined to southern China and hotels.
CETV, and its rival Xing Kong, News Corp's wholly owned entertainment network for mainland, are exploring ways to make ends met in a market where they are restricted in broadcasting areas and contents.
Tse said they see increasing demand for high quality video content on the Internet, although the pricing may not be as high as TV.
The network last sold 3,300 episodes of the 3,900 it made to online platforms such as portals and IPTV networks.
(Shanghai Daily January 17, 2008)