RealTime IT News

MIH Clinch Chinese Content Deal

[Johannesburg, SOUTH AFRICA] South African Internet platforms and media operations company MIH Holdings announced yesterday that it has concluded three content deals with the largest television network in the world, China Central Television (CCTV). The deal, signed yesterday in Johannesburg, will involve content sharing and a co-operative agreement between MIH and the national television network for the People's Republic of China, a platform servicing over 1-billion viewers across Asia.

The three productions that will form the initial content deal are KTV, a childrens entertainment program, Beyond the Rainbow, a musical collaboration between the two companies and a Chinese beauty pagaent offering entitled Face of China. These programs are all based upon productions already being offered to subscribers by either MIH or CCTV.

KTV will be produced jointly by both MIH and CCTV and broadcast in China, Asia and Africa. Beyond the Rainbow, scheduled for October, will feature music and culture from both continents while Face of China will be a new production similar in style to M-Net's existing Face of Africa beauty contest.

Both MIH CE Cobus Stofberg and CCTV President Zhao Hua Yongang declined to place a value on this content deal, emphasizing that the real value lies in the platform for co-operation which this partnership will provide. In truth, the platform had already been predetermined with a 1997 agreement to stream CCTV4's international content through Africa using MIH's DSTV satellite TV offering. This deal is a substantial extention on the initial agreement, however, as specific collaborative content will be developed and streamed to both Asia and Africa.

With the recent vogue term in media circles, the 'convergence' between the Internet and media, this deal will strategically position MIH within the Asian market. MIH Holdings are the parent company of South Africa's largest dial-up Internet service provider, M-Web and owns the Nasdaq and Amsterdam-listed MIH Limited, primary shareholder in interactive television company Open TV. Additionally, the company has a number of other Internet and media platforms in over 40 countries including African satellite television provider Multichoice Africa, Mindport and Irdeto.

In the long term, analysts suggest that MIH will be looking to build its brand over CCTV's eight asian channels and one english language channel by exporting its own content to the region. In addition, the value of the MIH offering to an African audience will be simultaneously enhanced by the stream of CCTV content that will be available to subscribers.