Nanjing-based Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation (JSBC) offers truthful, objective, and empathetic news that resonates well with the international audience. A testament to this is the broadcaster’s recent win at the 25th Asian Television Awards for the category of Best Single News Story (10 mins or less) for the documentary Canadian Girl Writes A Song of Peace for Nanjing.
JSBCI President Ms. Yuanyuan Qiu told Television Asia Plus that prior to the National Memorial Ceremony for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre in 2019, JSBC learned about a tip for a news story of Megan Brady, a 17-year-old Canadian girl who created a song for Nanjing and for the victims of the massacre and would later perform the song at the candlelit ritual held in Nanjing that evening.
Ms. Qiu said that Megan’s great-grandfather, Richard Brady, was a surgeon at Drum Tower Hospital when the massacre happened, and he and several other foreigners saved many defenceless Chinese civilians when the atrocity occurred. Megan’s story caught JSBC’s attention and their production team followed her journey in Nanjing and made the story.
“Megan, as one of the younger generations, sang a song of peace in Nanjing, the International City of Peace, and passed on this spirit to the youth around the world, which is of great significance and news value. As media practitioners, we hope that our news reports could increase the awareness of the international audience, especially the younger generation, around the history of the Nanjing Massacre, and make them cherish the peace today and pass on this voice of peace to future generations,” Ms. Qiu said.
Major successes, co-productions, and more
Apart from the production of Canadian Girl Writes A Song of Peace for Nanjing, JSBCI has been expanding international cooperation in recent years, including copyright trade and international content co-productions.
For international content co-productions, JSBC’s international commercial arm, Jiangsu Broadcasting Corp. International Company Limited (JSBCI) worked with Lion TV in the UK as they jointly produced Tales From Modern China, which has been broadcast on mainstream channels in Asia and in Europe, covering over 100 million viewers overseas. Meanwhile, the docu-drama Scars of Nanking, which was co-produced by JSBCI and A+E Networks, premiered on 13 December 2017, the National Memorial Day for the Victims of Nanjing Massacre. The docu-drama was translated to 17 languages and broadcast in over 50 countries and regions, and went on to be nominated for the Best Cinematography and Best Editing at the 2018 Daytime Emmy Awards, and won Best Cinematography.
Ms. Qiu shared that in terms of copyright trade, the dating show Perfect Match was broadcast via Australia’s SBS for 11 consecutive seasons, becoming the station’s most-watched foreign language program. The weekly show has also been broadcast simultaneously on Singaporean pay-TV service StarHub. In addition, JSBC reached a milestone when its original variety program The Amazing Magicians was localised in Vietnam and was a ratings success compared to other local shows aired in the same period.
Ms. Qiu revealed that JSBCI plans to work on new media platforms by presenting its best programs and showing on platforms such as YouTube, Netflix, and VIKI. In terms of international content co-production, JSBCI will focus on three topics that shine a light on Chinese culture. Highlighting the three topics, Ms. Qiu said, “Among the topics that we will focus on are Chinese culture and other cultures around the world, social and economic topics that reflect modern China or modern Chinese people’s everyday life and topics that concern humankind or related to the shared destiny of mankind.”
Bringing Chinese content to a greater audience in Southeast Asia
Ms. Qiu also talked about JSBCI’s partnership with Now TV for Now Jelli, an entertainment channel that brings together the best of Chinese content. Ms. Qiu said, “Ranking among the top Chinese-language channels, Now Jelli covers Hong Kong, Macao, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, with a total of 4 million overseas subscribers.”
Outlining the programming slate of Now Jelli, Ms. Qiu said that the channel broadcasts variety shows and sees the premiere of nearly 800 hours of shows each year, including Jiangsu Satellite TV’s Perfect Match, Chinese Blind Date, Who’s Still Standing, and The JSBC New Year Concert. Catering to the needs of the local audience, Cantonese subtitles and dubbing have been added to all programs in Hong Kong, as well as Thai for viewers in Thailand. She said, “To create a better viewing experience, we always provide subtitles in English or local languages in non-Chinese speaking countries and regions.”
Speaking on attracting the younger demographic, Ms. Qiu outlined JSBCI’s plans of putting its best programs, such as drama series, short videos, and animation, on new media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. Ms. Qiu said, “We will focus on elements that young people like such as virtual idols, food, and live streaming to attract more subscribers.”
Apart from this, JSBCI plans to increase interaction and collaboration with companies abroad, and use overseas resources to drive a following on social media platforms. In addition, the company aims to bring TV news to new media platforms in order to meet the audience’s need of viewing the most talked about news stories anytime, anywhere, on any device.