Heft 207

Viola Bensinger:

Co-Operation with China in the TV Sector,

Köln, im September 2005, ISBN 3-938933-05-4

13 S., Schutzgebühr 8,00 €

Dr. Viola Bensinger is Rechtsanwältin and Solicitor (England and Wales) and managing associate in the Media & Entertainment Group of Linklaters, Berlin. In her paper she describes the legal framework for foreign firms to cooperate with Chinese TV-corporations. The article is based on a presentation Dr. Bensinger gave at the International Conference “TV-Programme Exchange between Germany and China” in Cologne/Germany on April 28th-29th, 2005, organised by the Institute for Broadcasting Economics in cooperation with the German Chinese Business Association.

In her outlook the author concludes: "Most notably, China has now created the possibility of equity investment in film or tv programme producing companies - even though this may not be a majority stake. It has also recently allowed the first of such a joint venture to broadcast a children’s tv programme via a cable tv network (that is a jv between Viacom / Nickelodeon and Shanghai Film Group), though this appears to contravene the February 2005 Notice. However, China clearly encourages big scale investment in China’s media industry, though it also ensures this investment is not too big scale to constrain a genuine Chinese industry in their development. What is new as well is that procedures that beforehand were subject to internal and unpublished administrative rules or guidelines have now been regulated in a far more transparent and comprehensible way. True, the drafting of the regulations leave scope for many question marks and doubts, and also for criticism, but clearly they mean a huge step forward towards opening up the media industry to private and non-Chinese interests. On the other hand, the more recent developments in this area seem to shatter a slightly different light on China’s endeavours to open its media market. Firstly, and as already mentioned, the February 2005 Notice, which clearly limited the scope of the TV Joint Venture Regulation and the possibilities for foreign media companies to form joint ventures thereunder. Later, Chinese authorities blocked the release of most foreign (and in particular, US) films during the summer of 2005. Though this is surprising in light of the developments of 2004, it is probably less surprising seen the overall development of the “opening” of China and its markets to the rest of the world."

Table of Contents:

1. Existing Legislation
2. Background and Development
3. The Players
4. The "TV Production Regulation"
5. The "TV Joint Venture Regulation"
6. Now - What is Different?