BBC Studios and Bilibili, one of China’s largest online entertainment services platforms, have announced a new multi-year cooperation agreement to enhance the platform’s premium BBC Studios content by collaborating on BBC Studios-led productions.
Both sides will commission new content and jointly develop BBC Studios or Bilibili IP for the Chinese market, potentially including an animation project.
Both partners are also exploring the potential for BBC Studios to invest in Bilibili-produced content, bringing the Chinese content experience to the global stage.
A key element in BBC Studios and Bilibili’s strengthened partnerships lies in the development of Chinese stories. Factual programmes that feature segments about Chinese culture will be co-produced by BBC Studios and Bilibili. Inspired by the long history of Chinese civilisation, several documentary programmes about Chinese culture including Chinese voices are currently in preparation for production.
The extended deal will also see Bilibili become a co-production partner in China for new BBC Studios factual titles, including the forthcoming BBC Studios landmark series The Green Planet and Mating Game.
The partnership will also give Bilibili greater access to BBC Studios drama and comedy titles. Bilibili will have the exclusive VOD rights in China to BBC Studios’ new scripted fantasy show The Watch. Additional BBC Studios scripted content and entertainment shows will become available on Bilibili, including some of its greatest hits like Top Gear and Doctor Who.
The two parties will also double down on science productions. Working together with Bilibili, BBC Studios Science Unit will produce a newly commissioned science series, Odyssey into the Future, featuring the respected Chinese author Liu Cixin.
Jon Penn, Executive Vice President BBC Studios Asia Pacific (APAC), said, “China is one of the fastest-changing and most dynamic media markets in the world. We’re delighted to have forged this long-term partnership with Bilibili which will see BBC Studios deepen its participation in China. This more advanced strategic partnership with Bilibili is a significant breakthrough, as it will help us to further explore the potential of China’s content industry.”
Ding Ke, the newly-appointed Senior Vice President and General Manager for Greater China, BBC Studios, remarked, “With decades of commitment to China, as well as our roots in generating bold creative content, we know that telling Chinese stories is about realising local values and resonating with the Chinese audience. Previous cooperation between BBC Studios and Bilibili laid a solid foundation for this enhanced strategic partnership. As well as taking British stories to China, this deal will also take some of China’s rich cultural stories to the rest of the world.”
Li Ni, Vice Chairwoman and Chief Operating Officer of Bilibili, said, “We are excited to deepen our cooperation by entering into a strategic partnership with BBC Studios. Documentary is one of the most popular content categories among our users. Our continuous investment and commitment in this area is bearing fruit: Bilibili’s video library contains more than 3,000 documentaries; we have also produced and co-produced hundreds of titles, around which we have built up a unique content ecosystem. BBC Studios not only brings valuable production expertise to the table, but also has a strong brand recognition and influence around the world. Looking forward, we are committed to leveraging the strengths of both parties to explore more diverse content together. We will collaborate to create high-quality productions while bringing more Chinese original content to overseas markets.”
Lisa Opie, Managing Director, BBC Studios UK Production, said: “I’m delighted that we will be working closely with Bilibili to develop new commissions for their platform and to grow our production capabilities in China. With BBCStudios’ excellent storytelling heritage, production craft, and cutting-edge technology, we can play a significant role in developing further exciting stories for Bilibili, which cater to the Chinese market and also to the rest of the world.”
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