China Is Now World’s 2nd Biggest Pay-TV Market: Report
China has done it again. Last week, the MPAA’s Theatrical Statistics Report confirmed that China’s box office had outpaced Japan’s to make the nation the world’s number-two movie market. A new report from UK-based Digital TV Research finds that China is also the leader in pay-TV revenues outside the U.S. Amid massive growth in the Asia Pacific region, the report’s author, Simon Murray, said China overtook Japan to become “the most lucrative pay-TV market in 2012.” Revenues from pay-TV across Asia Pacific are expected to reach $43.9B in 2018. In 2013 alone, the report estimates the subscription and on-demand pay-TV business will grow by $2.1B to $33.9B. In Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, revenues are expected to more than double by 2018, although a drop is foreseen in Hong Kong and South Korea where penetration is expected to be almost 100% by then. Digital penetration should hit 90% in 2018 across the region, but opportunities for growth will remain in Indonesia and the Philippines. China is expected to have 313M pay-TV households by 2018 and India will have 158M.

French Production Figures For 2012
France’s CNC revealed its annual report on production figures this week, announcing that 279 films, up from 272 in 2011, had received the film body’s certification in 2012, a necessary hurdle to accessing state funding. But investment was down 3.4% to 1.34B euros ($1.7B). In a growing trend, the number of mid-range pictures declined as microbudget pics jumped. Films costing over 7M euros took up 66.7% of all financing, but the average budget dropped to 5.1M euros. There were 129 international co-productions, the most in more than 30 years. France is a popular partner thanks to its tax breaks and often works with neighbors like Belgium and Germany. TV channels continued their downward investment in cinema with free-to-air broadcasters investing 15.3% less and pay-TV dropping by 1.9% in 2012. An age-old argument in France is that the TV networks, despite their obligations to invest a certain portion of revenues into French and European film, are only interested in general entertainment that slots into primetime. Neither TF1 nor M6, the leading private channels, invested in films budgeted at less than 5M euros over the year. In 2012, 34% of films were made without participation from a TV channel. Some other interesting figures: Aggregate talent pay dropped to 102.28M euros in 2012 and directors made 12.94M euros. Producers were paid 51.84M, more than in any of the last ten years except 2006. The CNC also said it has commissioned an outside firm to launch a study into the profitability of majority French films.

Hat Trick In Plum Deal
Hat Trick International has signed an exclusive distribution deal with factual and entertainment producer Plum Pictures. The pact comes following Hat Trick’s success selling Plum format George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces. More than 100 territories have acquired the series which looks at micro-builds and the people undertaking them. HTI will debut the second series at Mip-TV next month. The Channel 4 commission is currently in production. HTI will now act as exclusive international distributor for all of Plum’s programs.