Metan will provide production and development consulting for Shandong’s current Chinese productions, advising on how to make them more appealing to global markets. Additionally, Metan will represent Shandong’s interests in co-productions with Western companies for international films shot in China and co-productions of Western television formats in the country. Metan will also represent Shandong’s programs to Western brands for advertising and sponsorship opportunities.
“Our partnership with Metan will help to make our productions more relevant to international markets, as well as attract Western brands seeking to reach the rapidly growing Chinese middle class,” said Mr. Wang Hanping, Vice President, Shandong Radio & TV Bureau (governing body of SARFT in Shandong Province) and President, Shandong Film & TV Group. “Metan is a unique company that has it foot in China, yet remains focused on the pulse of the global television and media scene.”
As part of the agreement, Shandong TV channels, reaching an audience of some 97 million, will carry Metan’s original programming, including the recently announced daily show The Hollywood Reporter, a co-production with the top international trade publication of the same name.
“This is our first major deal with one of China’s major provincial TV and film groups. Shandong has brand new production facilities comparable to anything we have in the U.S. Working with them, we can license any TV show format from anywhere and reshoot it in China with Chinese casts in Mandarin language. This will give us the opportunity to perfectly pair Western brands with proven audience-grabbing content,” said Metan President Larry Namer.
Metan and Shandong’s first major co-production Golden Mountain will depict the epic stories that occurred in both China and the USA during the important historical period over 150 years ago. The multi-year, dramatic series follows two Chinese families that came to the US in the 1850s during the Gold Rush, later to become part of the large Chinese contingent that helped build the Central Pacific Railway from Sacramento to Ogden, California. With a total budget that exceeds $25 million US annually, the production is one of the most ambitious TV productions in China’s history. The 120 part series will feature 40, one-hour episodes per year for three years and will be shot in both China and the US.
“We’re excited to work with Metan to bring high quality TV programs into China and develop content for the international TV market,” said Mr. Jin Liang, Vice President & Director, Film & TV, Shandong Film & TV Group. “The project of Golden Mountainis a win-win cooperation. We believe Metan’s strong media operation and comprehensive network and contacts in North America and Europe will help to maximize the value of the project, as well as to deliver Chinese culture to television audiences all over the world.”
Set against historical backdrops, Golden Mountain, penned by one of China’s most important and respected writers Ms. Zhao Dongling, follows these two families into the present day. A screenwriter for more than 300 television episodes and 15 movies, Ms. Dongling serves as Artistic Supervisor of Shandong Film & TV Group. She is the seven time recipient of the prestigious National Publicity Department’s Five-One project. Additionally, she was awarded the national government Huabiao Award for excellence in screenwriting, as well as the Gold Rooster and Baihe best screenplay awards.
“This is one of the most important TV play projects in our company’s history, and marks our first international co-production between China and the US. Underscoring the role of Chinese people in the history of other countries, Golden Mountain has been highly valued by national governmental and Shandong provincial leaders, as well as CCTV,” added Mr. Hanping. “With the plotlines of Chinese workers seeking gold in the USA, constructing the Pacific Railway and opening up farmlands in the USA, the series will historically represent the great contributions that Chinese workers and others have made to the development of the Western region in the USA. By partnering with Metan, we will bring international attention to Golden Mountain, as well as maximize the project’s social and economic benefits.”
As the Western co-producer, Metan will handle the US side of the production and sponsorship sales. Golden Mountain will debut in early 2011 in primetime on CCTV Channel 1 and rebroadcast on CCTV-8, reaching the entire country. The average rating in prime time (8pm-10pm) of CCTV-1 is 5.29%, equal to a 69.9 million viewing population, and CCTV-8 is 2%, equal to 26 million viewers.