Big Brother goes online for new Chinese version

2 comments - Posted on October 28 2014 at 01:29pm

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Big Brother is to make a move in to internet broadcasting after producers Endemol struck a deal for a Chinese version of the show.

Youku Tudou – a Chinese video website similar to Netflix – has ordered a ten-week series for early 2015 from the company’s Beijing division Endemol Culture Media Co.

The format will be adapted for local tastes, with certain details – such as eviction voting methods – yet to be worked out, according to American publication Variety. It is not clear whether the Chinese version will feature live streaming.

Although Big Brother pioneered interactive television with 24-hour live feeds and web coverage, the new agreement marks the first time ever that a real-life version has been commissioned solely for an online platform, rather than a traditional broadcaster.

It’s also the first time in Big Brother’s fifteen-year history that it will be produced in China – the world’s most populous country, home to 1.35billion people.

Youku Tudou – which has a government license to produce web video content – attracts more than 500million users, with Variety reporting that the service expects Big Brother to be watched by ten million viewers.

Victor Koo, chairman and CEO of Youku Tudou said: “We are delighted to be joining forces with Endemol to finally bring this groundbreaking format to China.

“Youku Tudou has been advancing its multi-screen media and entertainment ecosystem to provide its users with higher quality original content. By partnering with Endemol, Youku Tudou can build on its achievements with this great fit into our business model.”

Arjen van Mierlo, Endemol’s CEO of Asian operations, added: “Partnering with the number one digital video platform will allow us to bring Big Brother to a young audience and deliver the most immersive, interactive and unique experience to fans across the nation.”

Big Brother previously went online in 2006, when fifteen members of virtual world Second Life were selected to spend a month on ‘Big Brother island’. Madlen Flint was eventually voted the winner by other users, receiving her own island as a prize.

In 2009, just after Big Brother UK was axed by Channel 4, Endemol president Tim Hincks suggested to the Guardian that the show’s future could lie in the internet.

“It has revolutionised television in the UK and its next job is to continue the digital story Big Brother has only just begun,” he said. “I’m not dropping a big hint, but let’s explore over the next two years where we go with that.”

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2 comments on this article

  1. YoungsterJoey says:
    Tue 28 Oct Reply !

    Finally! I’ve said elsewhere that I’m surprised China hasn’t aired a version of Big Brother. Other places including Japan and I can’t remember where else I mentioned. China could be another India in terms of multiple BB versions within the country based on region and language too.

  2. Sam2 says:
    Tue 28 Oct Reply !

    I’m not sure who owns the Big Brother UK content, the broadcaster or Endemol? But if it’s Endemol, when they’re dropped they could easily strike a deal with Amazon Prime Instant Video or Netflix to put every single series on there. It’ll be a wall-to-wall Big Brother binge from Series 1 again, lol. Better than going out and pretending to like people… :grin:

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