By: Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural
Larry Namer, President/CEO of Metan Global Entertainment Group and Co-Founder of E! Entertainment Television, participated in the Digital Hollywood panel “Future of TV-Wall Street Analysts Meet Industry Executives-It’s All About Innovation and Disruption-Chasing the New Normal in the Entertainment & Technology Industries” held at the Marina del Rey Ritz Carlton. Marty Shindler, CEO of The Shindler Perspective, Inc., served as moderator.
Metan was founded to develop and distribute entertainment content and media specifically for Chinese speaking audiences in China and abroad. The company is currently adapting popular Western TV formats for localized versions, including Go Dance! from Ukraine and Elite Model Search.
Metan has also created the original sitcom Return to Da Foo Tsun and the recently launched Web series Planet Homebuddies that has garnered an online audience of over seven million after only one month since its launch. Recently Metan and a coalition of North America’s top TV and film writers partnered to launch Metan Wen Zhi Ku, a joint venture linking Western writing talent with transmedia projects for the China market.
Mr. Namer serves as Senior Advisor (Strategic Development) for Eurocinema On Demand. He is also co-founder of Mingyian, Inc., a China brand management startup for Western celebrities and influencers.
This reporter was lucky to catch Larry Namer as he was preparing to return to China this weekend to manage media projects involving TV shows, Web shows, and feature films. He travels to China six to twelve times a year. “It’s become like the bus!” exclaimed Namer.
Namer was curious to hear about THT’s ongoing promotion for the first annual Asian World Film Festival this past week. He has been disappointed by the lack of expertise often shown on speaking panels about China.
When asked for tips about navigating Chinese culture, Namer immediately noted the great disparity in business cultures between the US and China. He said it was very easy for Americans to make fatal mistakes with shady business deals as Western accountability standards might not apply in China.
According to Namer, the Chinese are very reluctant to offend by refusing requests and their body language is also very different. American sometimes think they have reached business agreements that don’t hold up because of these factors.
Socially, Namer has found adolescents in China to be much more respectful of their elders and modest in their behavior than their American counterparts. Early retirements in China mean that children are often raised by relatively young grandparents while both parents work. Older people may use their leisure time to go see films along with younger family members.
Astoundingly, TV reaches 1.1 out of 1.3 billion people in China. Young urban professionals often consume media content on their laptops and cell phones.
Popular American TV shows can be redeveloped to suit the Chinese market. Of course the Chinese love Hollywood and its current icons like ultra-blonde Blake Lively of Gossip Girl. Namer’s China-based show Hello! Hollywood that is also broadcast in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco remains very popular.
Finally, the Chinese tend to like TV stars as well as movie stars, whereas the big screen is always best in the USA. Many thanks to Larry Namer for providing us at THT with these pointed cross-cultural insights!