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Viacom in Chinese content production deal with Beijing TV

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MUMBAI: Viacom's China push has gathered some serious steam with the announcement yesterday by chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone of a strategic partnership with Beijing Television (BTV) for music and entertainment content production.



At a press conference in Guangzhou, Redstone also announced significant developments for its MTV and Nickelodeon brands. Tripling the distribution of its 24-hour channel in the Guangdong Province by year-end, MTV China will extend its total 24-hour channel reach to nearly 10 million TV households across China, and is launching its first locally produced HIV/AIDS prevention campaign.



According to a statement issued by America's third largest media company, China Central Television (CCTV) has agreed to extend an agreement for Nickelodeon programming for its first dedicated children's channel, which debuted in March 2004.



Viacom's alliance with BTV will produce Chinese language music and entertainment programming for distribution to BTV's channels, as well as to other channels across China and around the world. Viacom's second groundbreaking content partnership, this deal follows the company's announcement in March of China's first production joint venture through Shanghai Media Group (SMG), to create Chinese language kids programming for distribution in China and abroad. The Viacom/SMG JV has since moved forward on developing its first productions, and expects the programming to launch early in 2005.



Partnerships with Chinese companies are central to our long-term strategy, and Viacom's alliances with the two leading regional TV players Shanghai Media Group and now Beijing Television represent a significant commitment to producing high quality, locally produced content for audiences in China and around the world, Redstone said. The performance of Nickelodeon animation on CCTV's channel, combined with the kids programming that will be produced through the JV with SMG, will allow Viacom to leverage its content expertise to fill the growing demand for children's programming in China, Redstone said.



The deal will help MTV will triple the reach of its 24-hour channel in the Guangdong Province by year end, with additional distribution in Guangzhou and expansion to other key cities in Guangdong, the company claims.



Currently, MTV Networks distributes China's English language channel CCTV9 to hotels across the US.

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