UK writers could get a royalties windfall from China’s booming economy and consumer society, with BBC Worldwide running a Beijing version of its Showcase event this week [Wednesday 25 August 2010] for more than 100 TV buyers from the country’s many channels.
China has a big appetite for children’s series such as Wibbly Pig and ZingZillas, and there are high hopes for this year’s drama hit Sherlock. Five hours of clips were translated into Mandarin for the event.
Showcase is already an annual fixture in Brighton, where there is a week-long sales festival each February, and Rio de Janeiro. More than half of Worldwide’s £1 billion-plus annual revenues are generated by overseas sales.
Drama and comedy writers generally receive 5.6 per cent of the sale price, so if a programme or series sells for £10,000 the writer’s share is £560.
But some shows are too dangerous to showcase, says Pierre Cheung, manager of Worldwide’s Beijing office: “There is no way we could screen The Thick of It as there is too much use of the f-word.” Really? What is the Mandarin for “flip”?