FYI 1.13.2010

VisionChina Media Pays $160m for Digital Media Group; Hunan TV and ITV Partner in Content Deal; Dentsu Buys Stake in Suntrend; Shanda Games to Acquire Mochi Media; Gome Partners With Isign to Measure In-Store Ads; DDB Hires Simone Tam

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VisionChina Media, one of China's largest out-of-home digital television advertising networks on mass transportation systems, is paying $160 million to acquire another Chinese media company, Digital Media Group Co.

The acquisition of Digital Media, a leader in China's subway mobile television advertising market, "allows us to broaden VisionChina Media's subway network to match our extensive bus network," said Li Limin, VisionChina Media's chairman-CEO. "We now have a greatly enhanced advertising platform that includes 22 of China's most affluent cities, including all four of China's tier one cities, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai, as well as Hong Kong's Airport Express line."

One of China's largest provincial media companies, Hunan Television, has partnered with ITV, the U.K.'s largest commercial broadcaster, to develop and license entertainment content for the Chinese TV market.

The new programming, developed jointly, will be broadcast in prime time from 2010 and will be produced locally by Hunan Satellite TV. ITV Studios will represent the worldwide rights outside China.

"The collaboration will bring Hunan TV's entry into the international market one step closer," said the president of the Chinese broadcaster, Ouyang Changlin.

Hunan Television is the Changsha-based parent company of Hunan Satellite TV, one of China's most successful provincial channels through hits like the "Mengniu Yoghurt Super Girl Contest" and a Chinese version of "Ugly Betty."

With nearly national distribution through cable and satellite distribution, Hunan Satellite TV has become of the strongest competitors of China's state-run national broadcaster, China Central Television (CCTV).

"China's television format industry has tremendous potential for international growth and, until now, has been relatively untapped," said Lee Bartlett, managing director of ITV Studios in London.

Dentsu is buying 40% of Suntrend Group, a Guangzhou-based company with one of the largest sales promotion networks in China.

Suntrend, run by Managing Director Kevin Huang, does in-store marketing, street events, expositions, product sampling and sales promotion than 500 cities in China. The company has offices in 58 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Nanjing.

Dentsu said in a statement that its China clients "are currently placing great emphasis on in-store and street marketing, both of which have a direct impact on product sales."

As advertisers move budgets into sales promotion, Dentsu said, "marketing strategies in China that traditionally concentrated on the major cities and coastal regions have now shifted to a nationwide focus, placing national sales promotion networks in strong demand."

The Chinese game developer Shanda Games will acquire Mochi Media, a San Francisco-based platform for distributing and monetizing browser-based games worldwide. The acquisition, valued at $80 million in cash and equity, will combine Shanda Games' online game content with Mochi Media's distribution platform, creating a leading global online game media platform.

The combined platforms will become one of the largest international distribution channels for the online games sector. Mochi has more than 140 million monthly active users with 15,000 browser-based games on nearly 40,000 publisher web sites. The deal will strengthen the company's micro-transactions and advertising business through access to Shanda's expertise in monetizing online games and improving the stickiness of user communities.

Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings, China's leading retailer, is investing in software created by Isign Media Solutions to monitor ad take-up rates by consumers and their interactions with specific ad content.

Gome will work with an Isign Media design team in Singapore to design the data reporting system, which can also capture demographic information and measure the effectiveness of each campaign by integrating its data with point-of-sale information and the chain's customer loyalty program.

DDB Group has hired Simone Tam as managing director of its offices in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. She will be responsible for all of the group's divisions, including DDB Worldwide, Tribal DDB, Rapp and Mango. Previously, Ms. Tam was managing director of DraftFCB, Hong Kong.

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