A week ago, a new era began in Nigeria’s bilateral relations with China with the launch of the Beijing Television Dramas and Movies Broadcasting Season in Nigeria aimed at bringing Chinese stories to the country and promoting the cooperation in film and television industry between the two nations by Africa’s digital TV network operator, StarTimes.
The occasion provided the Nigerian film industry popularly referred to as Nollywood, a bird-view of the expansive Chinese film and television industry, the new technologies being deployed to facilitate the telling of cultural narratives as well as new and exciting short films, dramas, children’s educational shows, documentaries and blockbuster seasonal films from the world’s largest economy.
At an elaborate launching ceremony in Abuja, dignitaries from the Nigerian Ministry of Information and Culture, Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), StarTimes International Group, The Beijing Municipal Bureau ofPress and Publication and the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria jointly unveiled and flagged off the annual broadcasting season and fiesta with various colourful cultural displays and highlights of select movies and drama series to thrill the audience.
For decades, Nigeria and China bilateral relationship has centred on political and economic fronts. Both nations have been great trade partners with Nigeria in recent years leaning towards China for support in its oil & gas, building and roads construction industry, railways, information technology, telecommunications as well as satellite technology development.
The entry of Beijing Television Dramas & Movies Broadcasting Season in Nigeria gives Nigerians an opportunity to see behind the curtain, the comradeship, arts, sports advancements as well as cultural development that the Asian giant has come to be known all over the world.
StarTimes Pay TV, a joint venture between the largest TV network in Africa, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Star Communication Network Limited of China, which has the largest cable TV subscriber base in Nigeria and Africa at large, is at the forefront of showing to Nigerians China’s rich culture and its diversity.
Attesting to this, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information represented by Mr. Peter Dama stated that “Nigeria’s relationship with China dates back to 1975.This has grown in several sectors in Nigeria. We have entered into MoU particularly as it relates to culture between our two countries.
“StarTimes have been collaborating with NTA and have helped in seeing Nigeria through digitalization. Very soon they will help us translate some of their major programmes into our major local languages. We have challenges in promoting our films in Chinese language. We are asking that you make effort to ensure that Nollywood movies are screened in TV across China” he said.
The annual broadcasting season and promotion of Chinese movies and drama series and cultural fiesta in Nigeria will foster inter-cultural promotion between Africans and Chinese. The colourful programme will showcase the best of Chinese movies and drama series for Nigerian lovers of Chinese entertainment and culture.
According to the Global Vice President of StarTimes, Ms. Guo Ziqi, “Nigeria is home to the largest subscribers of StarTimes and I believe that this cooperation will further promote the friendship between Nigeria and China. This event will screen five mega hot series and five star studded big budget movies such as Chasing After The Love, Woman From The Family of Swordsman, Mazu, Go Away Mr. Tumour, Finding Mr. Right, Beijing Love Story, Back In Time, etc on StarTimes’ platform.
“Beijing leads China in producing television dramas and movies. It now has more than 3,400 institutions specialising in movie and television production and operation, producing over 3,000 television episodes and nearly 300 movies per year” she said.
Some of the selected movies and top-notch Chinese drama series include Chasing After The Love, Woman From The Family od Swordsman, Mazu, Go Away Mr. Tumour, Finding Mr. Right, Beijing Love Story, Back In Time.
The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television holds the much anticipated Beijing TV Dramas and Movies Broadcasting Season in Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania this September initially for three months and lasting till September 2017 to further promote and consolidate inter cultural relations and promotion particularly on movies and drama series.
Speaking at the ceremony, deputy director of Beijing Municipal Bureau, Ms. Yang Peili said that, “Historically China has maintained a deep and friendly relationship with African countries and the cultural exchange is a sole means supporting the communication between the two sides” she said.
Mrs Eugenia Abu Executive Director Programmes NTA representing the Director General, of Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), in her remarks said “Culture is the most important part of improving relationships among nation. Let us enter into each other’s communities and enjoy the food, fashion and other cultural bits of our countries. Culture is the most important tool used in showing content.”
Public relations manager, StarTimes Nigeria, Mr. Israel Bolaji, remarked that the annual ceremony showcases the highlights of the best and new Chinese movies and drama series for Nigeria fans. “At StarTimes, we offer life enriching content on movies, music, sports, news kiddies etc.”
He stated that, “After two years of development, Beijing TV Dramas and Movies Broadcasting Season has become an endearing and enduring brand in Africa, which helped popularise Chinese culture while facilitating friendly exchanges between China and Africa. “Hit Chinese TV drama series and movies dubbed into English, French and five African languages by StarTimes, were aired over last two years. TV dramas like Let’s Get Married, Beijing Youth, The Heart without Thieves, Battle to Save Marriage, The Young Doctor, The Sweet Burden, Mi Family’s Marriage, Ordinary World.
“And movies such as Love Is Not Blind, 20 Once Again, The Left Ear, A Wedding Invitation have been well-received by our African audience.” “StarTimes Nigeria is happy to launch the 2016 Beijing Dramas & Movies Broadcasting Season here in Nigeria which will be graced by Beijing Municipal authorities,” Bolaji concluded.
Broadcasting industry analysts say StarTimes has continued to offer Nigerians the best in class of pay TV experience with world class channels for drama, sports, kiddies, news, music and religion. It has been keen to continuously enhance access and improve digital television experience of Nigerians subscribers.
“On StarTimes, Nigerians are enjoying fantastic movie channels like ST Yoruba, irokoworld, irokoplay Amc movies, ST Zone, Orisun, ST Yoruba, and Bollywood channels like Star Plus and Zee Cinema. Music channels like ST music, Nigezie and MTV Base; documentary channels like IDX, Nat Geo Gold and Discovery science; news channels – Al Jazeera and Bloomberg; ST Novela, Wazobia, Fox; Jim Jam, Nickelodeon, Baby TV, Fine Living and many more.
The pay TV operator recently delighted Nigerians by airing new Hausa epic TV series “Kukan Kurciya” on the popular Hausa channel ST Dadin Kowa on StarTimes (channel 162/404) featuring popular award winning Kannywood diva, Hannatu Bashir as star actress.
Historically, China has maintained a deep and friendly relationship with Nigeria and other African countries, and the cultural exchange is a sole means of supporting the communication between the two sides.