Pearson forms joint venture with CTV Media Ltd

China's first media alliance to span television, broadband services and publishing

Alliance centres on English language training as China prepares to greet the world in English at the 2008 Olympics

Beijing & London – Pearson plc, the international media and education company (FTSE: PSON; NYSE: PSO), today announced a joint venture with CTV Media Ltd, the publicly traded multimedia and production arm of China Central Television (CCTV, the nation’s largest television broadcaster). The new Beijing-based company, Pearson CTV Media, will provide education and consumer content across television, broadband services and publishing for China’s 350 million television households.

The centrepiece of the joint venture will be a long-term cross-media effort in English Language Training as China works towards greeting the world in English at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. As part of this effort, from March 2002, CCTV will provide Pearson CTV Media with unprecedented distribution across its television network, which reaches more than 1 billion viewers every day.

Pearson Broadband, the broadband television division of Pearson plc, will own 50% of the venture, with CTV Media Ltd holding a 40% stake. Cyber Solutions Co. Ltd, a broadband and telecommunications services company based in Beijing, will hold the remaining 10%.

President of China Central Television (CCTV), Zhao Huayong, said, "In August we began meeting with Pearson to explore how we might work together. Since then we have made great progress and I am delighted that we have established this long term relationship in the fields of education and television with Pearson."

Marjorie Scardino, Pearson's chief executive, said: "We are very pleased to have this opportunity to work with our partners to meet the huge demand for learning English that exists right across China. We aim to make the learning process more accessible and more engaging than ever before. We will be helped in achieving that goal by the unique nature of our joint venture with CTV Media, which spans television, publishing and China's emerging broadband network."

Pearson CTV Media will produce a range of television programming to introduce conversational English in an entertaining setting on CCTV channels. Four television series are planned with two already in development and the first to be broadcast on CCTV’s Channel 10 (education and culture) and Channel 5 (sports) from early next year.

These shows will generate significant advertising and sponsorship opportunities for multinational corporations looking to promote their products in China.


All television programming will be supported with companion publishing from Pearson imprints including Longman, the world’s leading English Language Training company. Longman will publish print, online and audio courseware, and the joint venture will pilot broadband services, including self-study English language courseware. The pilots will run in Beijing housing complexes recently installed with high bandwidth internet connections.

Pearson CTV Media is also working on a number of other projects, including:

  • a six-part “Eyewitness China” television series, focusing on China's history, art and culture, for distribution around the world. Based on the award winning "Eyewitness" format developed by Dorling Kindersley (DK), another Pearson company, the series will combine original production with exclusive access to over 10,000 hours of footage from CCTV's television archives. DK will publish new companion consumer titles alongside “Eyewitness China”.
  • television programming for The Travel Network (a new travel channel to be launched in China in January 2002) which will feature multimedia content from DK's Eyewitness Travel Guides of the world's major cities.
  • television syndication of DK Vision's existing award-winning television programmes in China.

 

“This alliance makes the most of new opportunities emerging in China and pairs us with a strong, entrepreneurial partner in CTV Media,” said John Hollar, President of Pearson Broadband. “This enables us to help meet the huge demand in China for innovative, high quality education and entertainment across all media platforms."

 

Notes

The media industry in China

  • More than 350 million television households; more than 400 million radio households
  • Total online population more than 26 million; internet penetration 2%
  • Total media market is worth an estimated $12 billion; the media industry is China’s 4th largest tax contributor
  • In the ten years to 1999, the advertising market in China grew at a CAGR of 41% to $7.5 bn
  • An estimated $1 billion will be spent on sponsorship around the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.


Sources: CSFB, CIA, CNNIC, SINA.com

China Central Television (CCTV), established in 1958, is the national television station of the People’s Republic of China. CCTV is China’s earliest and largest television broadcaster and runs 11 channels reaching one billion viewers.

CTV Media (CTV Intermediary Co., Ltd.) is a television and film production and distribution subsidiary of China Central Television (CCTV). In 1997 it became the first Chinese television company to go public. CCTV now indirectly controls 67% of the shares. CTV produces its own programmes and distributes them, as well as programmes it licenses from the international marketplace, throughout China. In 2001, CTV expanded its scope to include all aspects of television production.

Pearson CTV Media is planning four television series, with two already in production:

  1. Phrase of the Day, a series of more than 250 ninety-second vignettes, each introducing an English language phrase. This series will introduce everyday English phrases set in real life situations such as shops, hotels and taxis. It will be broadcast throughout the day.
  2. The Maze, the biggest contestant-based show to be screened in China’s television history. “The Maze” will feature teams of contestants who race through a multi-level maze and gather rewards each time they are able to read an English phrase.

 

About Pearson

Pearson plc (FTSE: PSON; NYSE: PSO) is an international media company with market leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing.

Pearson Education is the world's leading learning company. Its textbooks, online learning tools and testing and assessment programmes help to educate more than 100 million people worldwide. Through market-leading imprints such as Longman, Pearson helps more than 40 million people a year to learn English - more than any other company in the world. Longman, which was founded in 1724, first published the landmark Dr Johnson’s English Dictionary in 1755 and pioneered English Language Training (ELT) materials in the 1920s. Today, Longman produces ELT materials in 17 languages for 55 countries and has recently launched online courses at www.englishsuccess.com.

The Penguin Group is one of the world’s leading consumer publishers, with an unrivalled range of fiction and non-fiction, bestsellers and classics, children's and reference works for audiences in more than 100 countries. Dorling Kindersley publishes illustrated reference books and travel guides for children and adults of all ages. The Financial Times and its network of business and financial newspapers and online services informs the daily decisions of more than 4 million businesses and investors worldwide.

Pearson Broadband is the broadband television arm of Pearson plc. From its offices in New York, Phoenix, London, Hong Kong & Beijing, Pearson Broadband creates interactive educational, media-rich broadband applications and television both for the home and classroom.


About Cyber Solutions Co. Ltd
Cyber Solutions Co. Ltd is a Beijing-based technology company which will be providing specialist technology services to the joint venture.

 

Further information

Beijing: Charles Tang

 

+ 86 10 64 92 98 22

 

London: Luke Swanson

 

+ 44 (0) 207 010 2313

 

New York: John Fallon

 

+ 1 212 641 2408