Eyeing what could be a new international breakout, Universal Music Group is partnering with ITV Studios Global Entertainment to bring China’s Sing My Song to a worldwide audience. The format is a primetime entertainment show from Star China which is the first talent format to be exported out of the Middle Kingdom. ITVSGE is selling it overseas after a deal it entered at Mip-TV in April. This new pact will see UMG support local broadcasters by casting singer-songwriters as the show’s producer-judges, providing prizes and releasing original music from the series.
Sing My Song is a studio-based music contest that searches for the best original songs in the nation. Contestants arrive with their own composition and as they advance, work with the producer-judges — who themselves are four accomplished singer-songwriters — to hone and interpret the music in different ways. The judges also have a personal stake since they are scouting for songs to be part of their own original music album. A compilation of music from the series is released at the end of the season.
The series aired on China’s CCTV-3 earlier this year and netted 480M viewers over the run. Audience share was 37% and the slot ratings were up 59% year-on-year. Album sales, I’m told, were very strong. A second season has been ordered.
UMG is familiar with the singing competition space. Its Interscope releases American Idol winner and contestant music. In July, it also entered a multi-territory deal with Keshet International giving UMG exclusive options to sign artist agreements with any or all contestants on Rising Star. But that show has yet to see any real breakout talent emerge. After U.S. ratings proved lackluster, ITV’s own UK version was kiboshed ahead of production and a German version cut short. The current French take is also on pretty shaky ground. If Sing My Song takes off, however, UMG will have been in on the ground floor. ITVSGE says it’s had “substantial interest.”
Mike Beale, Director of International Formats for ITV Studios sees UMG’s participation as “testament to the potential of Sing My Song to become the next global musical television success.” Check out video of the show’s first season in China: