Former Voice Of China producer answers allegations

BEIJING • The former Voice Of China producer has objected to the Dutch format owner's allegations that contract renewal talks between them broke down as the Chinese company offered a low price for copyright on the talent show.

Canxing Production publicity director Lu Wei on Tuesday responded to the allegations that Talpa Holding chief executive Pim Schmitz made at a press conference in Beijing last Wednesday, said NetEase website.

Canxing, which is under Star China Media, and Talpa are in a legal dispute over the fifth season of the hit show The Voice Of China. Talpa has signed a new Chinese partner, Talent International, to produce the show from the fifth season onwards, and it has sought an injunction banning Canxing from broadcasting its version of the show, which is judged by pop king Jay Chou.

Canxing, which has renamed its show China Super Vocal in English, has said it is suing Talpa for unilaterally breaking the contract between them.

On Tuesday, Mr Lu said the renewal talks broke down because Talpa quoted a high fee and also wanted to sell Canxing the China rights on various shows in a package. The cost of the package was nearly 200 million yuan (S$41.6 million) to 300 million yuan, he said. "We're a production company, not a format agency, this exceeds the scope of our business."

Canxing's show, which is using a new logo and amending the format, retains its Chinese title Zhong Guo Hao Sheng Yin, which literally means "the good voice of China".

Mr Lu said that the trademark of the show was registered by and belongs to the broadcaster, Zhejiang TV.

Also, a Zhejiang TV director came up with the Chinese title, so "the intellectual property rights of the Chinese name should belong to Zhejiang TV", he added.

According to Chinese reports, China Super Vocal will air in July.

Responding to Mr Schmitz's allegations that Canxing's show is illegal and pirated, Mr Lu said: "I think this is lame because they don't even know how we're doing it, how can they think it's a replica?"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2016, with the headline 'Former Voice Of China producer answers allegations'. Print Edition | Subscribe