AMBER VERNETTI WRITES – ABC’s Australian Network has landed a deal with the Shanghai Media Group (SMG), allowing various Aussie shows and other media content to be broadcasted in China.

As the third Western media group to have broadcasting rights in China, following Britain’s BBC World Service and America’s CNN International, ABC and other Australian media services will be available to team up with Chinese media corporations. However, the Australian Network will have greater access and prominence than the other broadcasters, which have been restricted to a handful of international hotels and diplomatic establishments.

When asked about the deal, Mark Scott, ABC’s managing director, said, “It provides a truly unique window for all Australian media to build a friendly and mutually cooperative relationship with China.”

Although the Australian Network did not previously hold any broadcasting rights in China, it did have an agreement with International Channel Shanghai for showing documentaries and other English-language shows.

In reference to the new deal, Lynley Marshall, CEO of ABC International, said, “This agreement will enable us to put the full range of Australia Network programming and content from other Australian media into China and for China to connect more closely with our media.” As a government-supported company, the Australian Network aims to promote a positive image of Australia to Asian viewers.

Marshall added, “Most importantly, the agreement will provide opportunities for promotion of Australian business, tourism, entertainment, culture and education.”

After the ABC-SMG deal is officially signed on May 4th, ABC International will have the authority to found its own headquarters in Shanghai. The contract will enable ABC to run the network for three years. Perhaps Chinese viewers will embrace the abundance of Aussie shows and become fans of The Real Housewives of Melbourne.