Home narrow Q&A with Eric Zho, China’s pioneer of branded entertainment (Shanghai)

Q&A with Eric Zho, China’s pioneer of branded entertainment (Shanghai)


In the lead-up to X Media Lab in June, we spoke with a few of the distinguished entrepreneurs from around the world who are slated to appear. In this Q&A email interview, guest speaker Eric Zho stresses the importance of a never-give-up attitude and the increasing shift of brands and consumers to digital media.

As one of the pioneers of branded entertainment in China, Mr Zho has helmed several groundbreaking, high-profile projects including Wo Xing Wo Show, China’s first Pop Idol reality show produced in partnership with Universal Music Group and Shanghai Media Group, attracting more than 100,000 applicants countrywide and 100 million viewers each season. The show broke Dragon TV’s rating record and set a new standard for TV programming in China.

In addition, Mr Zho was instrumental in creating the biggest rock n roll project in Chinese history, Pepsi Battle of the Bands. The show aired on China’s Zhe Jiang Satellite Channel, and consistently ranked in the top 2 highest rated shows on prime time.  With 55+ millions video views on the Internet, 200+ millions of page views on its home page (http://pepsi.sina.com.cn), and thousands of media mentions. Other notable projects created by Mr Zho include Teflon Smart Cook, China’s largest online Chef competition, and Pepsi Creative Challenge, an online TV commercial script competition.

Mr Zho graduated with Honors from Brown University and attended NYU Film School.

1. What is the one standout characteristic you think makes an entrepreneur successful in the digital media space?

Although it may be difficult to pinpoint one standout characteristic that makes them successful, I believe it is the positive, go-getter, and never-give-up attitude that they possess that makes them test new ideas over and over again until they are successful. Besides the attitude, it is really understanding what people need (the demand) that leads them to their creative, groundbreaking ideas.

2. What is one mistake from which every entrepreneur should learn?

That making mistakes is the by-product of being successful. No one can claim to be successful unless they have fallen at least once before. The key is to learn and never do that again.

3. How would you describe some of the similarities and differences in the evolution of digital media compared with that of ‘traditional’ media?

Similarities: that you still need to create interesting content that will attract the public to gain mass traction.

Differences: that we are no longer confined to a set format or production quality; the digital media space is the birthplace for new innovative formats and concepts not possible through traditional media.

4. What will you want people to take away from your session at Global Media Ideas?

That brands are increasingly shifting their focus from traditional media to digital media. In a similar fashion, consumers are spending more and more time (in some countries, a majority of their time) in digital media. Thus, digital media is becoming the new dominant media outlet for advertisers and content providers.

5. The DVD box set has changed the way many of us watch narrative TV shows; what will be the catalyst to change the way we consume TV shows?

The Tablet Connected Device will be the future of media consumption. It will surpass PCs in the years to come.

X Media Lab: Global Media Ideas will take place 10-12 June 2011 at the Sydney Opera House. Learn more about how to participate here.