Australian independent producer WTFN has pulled off a major coup signing a co-production deal with one of China's biggest broadcasters.
The deal formalises a relationship between WTFN and Tianjin TV going back more than a decade. During that time the two groups have provided mutual support on various one-off projects and more recently co-produced a lifestyle series about wine.
Last week, after a series of meetings, WTFN and Tianjin TV signed off on a deal that will see the two groups collaborate on a range of projects. Their first co-production will be a pilot that is expected to be ready in time for MIPTV.
Under the deal WTFN will gain access to the TJTV library and the partners will explore joint opportunities in China and abroad. TJTV will also leverage its relationships with other broadcasters across China.
WTFN Chief Executive Officer, Daryl Talbot and Head of Production Wes Crook finalised the deal in a series of meetings in Tianjin last week attended by Mr Li Jiasen, Director of the TJTV International Channel, Mr Wan Ke, President of TJTV and Mr Shen Guohua, Vice President of TJTV.
"This is a major breakthrough for WTFN's plans to build a truly international media company," Mr Talbot said. "Tianjin TV is going to be a fantastic partner for us as we continue to focus on the production and distribution of programs to the international market."
"I've had the pleasure of working with Mr Li Jiasen at TJTV for a long time now and I know that our respective companies share the same focus and commitment to producing high quality content.
"This deal will be a win-win for both organisations: WTFN will gain access to the Chinese market and we will help TJTV commercialise its content for the international market. There are also lots of ways we can help and learn from each other."
Tianjin is a major Chinese city about 120 kilometres southeast of Beijing. It is one of the four major cities under the direct control of the central government and is the fourth largest in terms of population behind Shanghai, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
It is China's major northern port and has a special economic zone populated by 285 Fortune 500 companies. They include Motorola, Airbus, Toyota and Samsung. Economic growth in Tianjin in recent years has been exceptional with the city recording the country's highest per capita growth in GDP.
Tianjin TV recently re-located to one of the world's most modern TV production complexes. The purpose-built 23-storey Tianjin TV tower includes the latest in digital studios suitable for large scale production of news, documentaries, games shows and drama.
It broadcasts multiple channels covering news, sports, science, public interest and children's programming. It also includes a paid digital channel featuring home improvement programs. Tianjin TV also operates a satellite service with a footprint of 800 million people.