Top Gear China a big hit with 217 million viewers across TV and online

Honyee Media’s Chinese version of BBC’s Top Gear has taken the world's most populous country by storm, with the first 5 episodes of the second season accumulating a combined audience of 217 million across TV and online.

Published: 20 November 2015
The success of Top Gear in China once again demonstrates the unique appeal of the world’s favourite motoring entertainment show. It’s also testament to a successful collaboration between our own UK producers and their Chinese counterparts who have recreated a British institution for a whole new audience.
— Paul Dempsey, President of Global Markets at BBC Worldwide

The show, which launched on Shanghai Dragon TV on October 19th, was the number one programme in its time slot for the past 4 weeks across all cable and pay TV channels nationwide, with an average weekly audience of 9 million tuning in to watch live. The fifth and latest episode of a run of 10 attracted its highest audience to date, garnering over 11 million viewers.

Interest in Top Gear China has been so intense that the season’s first 5 episodes have received a staggering 173 million total views across 8 of China’s largest online video websites. The opening episode was the second most talked about topic across all Chinese social media. Its curtain raiser featured a race between the three hosts across Shanghai, and a wind-suit flight and car challenge at Tianmenshan Mountain. Chinese and British production crews have produced a significant amount of the content collaboratively. 

Top Gear China’s promotional launch activity featured Big Stig, a 30ft-plus effigy of the show’s iconic white-suited driver, who arrived in Guangzhou in early September before making his way to Shanghai and taking up residency in front of the Grand Gateway and Plaza 66, two of the city’s most famous office and shopping mall landmarks. The gigantic character also made appearances at several notable events in Shanghai including the 2015 Shanghai Simple Life concert and the World Endurance Championship, and his presence in Xuhui District, Shanghai attracted over one million visitors alone.

Paul Dempsey, President of Global Markets at BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm who licensed the format to Honyee Media said: “The success of Top Gear in China once again demonstrates the unique appeal of the world’s favourite motoring entertainment show. It’s also testament to a successful collaboration between our own UK producers and their Chinese counterparts who have recreated a British institution for a whole new audience.”

Top Gear fever in China is set to continue when the current series ends with a Top Gear Live festival featuring the local hosts currently slated to take place in Spring 2016 in Shanghai.

Honyee Media debuted the first series in late 2014. BBC Worldwide distributes Top Gear to over 200 territories worldwide, and has licensed the format for local production in seven countries to date including the US, China, South Korea, France, and the forthcoming Italian version

 

For more information, please contact Philip Fleming, Head of Communications, Brands & Content, BBC Worldwide on 07824 622 077 or email Philip.Fleming@bbc.com

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