Based in Beijing, Ms. Mei will oversee the operations of MTV Networks' business in China including MTV China in Guangdong, Nickelodeon and all of its brand extensions, MTV and Nickelodeon branded co-productions in the mainland, digital media and consumer products.
She will also be responsible for Viacom Asia Inc.'s new business development and governmental relations. She succeeds Li Yifei, who left Viacom in June 2008.
Previously Ms. Mei, who is her early 50s, was chief strategy officer, China for News Corp. and its Hong Kong-based Star Group. She was responsible for legislative development and government and public relations. Before joining News Corp., she was Turner Broadcasting's VP, network marketing and distribution, Asia/Pacific, and has worked in management and as a journalist at CNN's headquarters in Atlanta.
"Mei Yan's experience paired with her reputation as an astute and well-respected media executive makes her the perfect choice to lead our businesses in China," said MTV's Indra Suharjono, Singapore-based exec VP and managing director, Southeast Asia and Greater China.
China is a difficult market for foreign TV companies. They are largely prohibited from broadcasting branded channels in the mainland and have to operate with local partners under strict controls.
As a non-news broadcaster, however, Viacom has scored some successes in the mainland. MTV China was the first global brand to be given approval by China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) to launch a 24-hour feed that reaches more than 14 million homes in Guangdong, a province in southern China, as well as in hotels and other foreign compounds.
MTV China content can also be seen in over 156 million households across China via localized programming co-produced with partners such as China Central Television (CCTV) and Shanghai Media Group. MTV also provides content for China Mobile, China's largest mobile phone service provider and other digital and mobile platforms in the mainland.
Ms. Mei said she wants to "explore new business opportunities and further tap into the multiplatform potential these brands present in China," particularly with Nickelodeon properties like SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.
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