Chapter 628 Signing the contract with Central TV!
Beside the primary school.
A small coffee house along Nanxinhua Avenue. At this time, the coffee house was not in operation yet as their opening time was a little later in the morning. The staff were doing the accounts inside, but the door was left unlocked.
Jiang Yuan pushed open the door and asked, "Are you open?"
A waitress said, "Sorry, we're not open yet."
Zhang Ye followed from behind and went inside, saying, "We just need to borrow a place to sit and discuss something."
"That won't do, we're-" The waitress didn't finish.
The coffee house owner who was behind her immediately recognized him and said, "Aiyo, isn't that Zhang Ye! To what do we owe the honor? We're open, we're open, please have a seat inside with your friend."
"OK, thanks so much, boss," Zhang Ye said with a smile.
The boss answered with a big smile, "Don't need to thank me. You've already graced our little shop with your presence. May we take a picture with you later? So that I can put it up on our wall and have a chance to brag to other people."
Zhang Ye said happily, "Sure, no problem."
The coffee was served very quickly.
The coffee house owner said, "I won't bother the two of you then."
The boss left. Zhang Ye and Jiang Yuan were seated at a quiet corner in the coffee house.
Jiang Yuan smiled as he drank his coffee and said, "Well, the coffee tastes rather good. If not for you, we wouldn't have had a chance to have coffee here today." Then he quickly changed the topic. "So how about it? Are you interested in the matter that I brought up earlier?"
Zhang Ye did not answer directly but instead asked, "Why did you ask me?"
Jiang Yuan also asked, "Why not you?"
Zhang Ye said, "Being invited to join your television station is an honor and of course I would be interested. Who hasn't heard of Central TV Department 1's name before? It is the big brother of the domestic television station industry and whether in terms of audience coverage, qualifications, or experience, it is the number one in the country, the mothership of all television stations, so why would I not be interested? But in the past, I created some issues at the crosstalk competition and caused my relationship with Central TV to become quite bad. I don't suppose there are too many people there who have good impressions of me?"
Back then, Zhang Ye had created a storm at Central TV Department 11 where the crosstalk competition was held and caused a big mess of things. The Central TV staff should understand that matter the most, so why would they invite him to join them this time? Zhang Ye was desperate for a job this time and was hoping that a good television station would look for him to join them, but out of all the satellite channel television stations that he had considered as a possibility, it was the one he didn't that came to look for him. The thought and idea of it never once crossed his mind as he had already identified it an impossible situation early on. However, no one could predict the unpredictable, and with most matters being so uncertain, the television station that Zhang Ye had not expected to make the move for him turned out to be the one that was offering him the olive branch now!
When Jiang Yuan heard this, he laughed a little and answered, "I've heard about the crosstalk competition at Department 11 before, but I'm not too sure of the details as Department 1 is independent of Department 11. We do not share the same team, and even our office locations are different, so we basically do not have any direct contact with them. As a result, how they view you is totally not of any concern to us at Department 1. That is the first point. Second, the reason we want to invite you to join us is not because of anything other than that you're popular and capable. With those qualities, of course we would like to bring you into our ranks. It's really that simple, though honestly, your promotion into the B-list Celebrity Rankings and the Do You Remember program that you sold to Beijing Television were the key reasons for it. We are confident of your program planning abilities."
Zhang Ye gave a noncommittal nod at that.
Jiang Yuan said to him, "I don't know whether there are other satellite channels in contact with you at the moment, but if there are, then I urge you to seriously consider Central TV. Everyone who can see will know that satellite channels are definitely the best out there, especially on the forefront of variety and entertainment programs. The viewership ratings are all considerably very high, and if you just compare based on these ratings alone, then the ones who lead these statistics are all the satellite channels. But as that is only data on the superficial level. You should know this as an industry insider as well. Even if we do not look at the viewership ratings of those variety programs, if we judged them based on their influence and comprehensive strengths of one channel per television station, then our Central TV Department 1 is clearly the leader in our domestic market. That is without a question."
Zhang Ye did not doubt this. He too knew that it was true.
Central TV Department 1 had a monopoly of the viewership ratings just with News Simulcast alone. Its viewer rating was not something that could simply be described with a zero point rating. When it got a high enough viewership rating, it could even soar into a 10 point rating or more. Even if the viewership ratings of some of the satellite channels' programs were added up together, they still couldn't outperform the ratings of News Simulcast. As all the other satellite channels were required to broadcast News Simulcast as well, the program would be shown with the logo of Central TV Department 1 in the top right corner. From a certain perspective, Central TV Department 1 was just like an unresolved BUG1 living on in the system of all the other satellite channels. It even had ownership over the terrifying program that had the craziest viewership ratings, the Central TV Spring Festival Gala, which could easily hit crazy viewership ratings of over 20-30%!2
And then, Central TV Department 1 also had the most outstanding and one of the top-ranked interview programs in the industry, together with the most excellent team, resources, and the widest area coverage reaching to faraway places in the remote mountains that even Beijing Television or Hunan Television could not cover. As long as there was some sort of television signal, even if there were very few channels or a place with only one television set, the channel that would reach such places could only be Central TV Department 1! This was the effect of an overwhelming and superior policy making from the government, something that all the other satellite channels would never be able to compete on in their lifetimes!
Even though Central TV had been going downhill in the past two years as it gradually lost some of the interest of viewers.
But the big brother would always be the big brother, it was something that no one could change, even after a hundred years. Why? There was no why, it was just so because its name was Central TV Department 1!
Jiang Yuan said, "Central TV is the largest platform in the industry and also your best choice. I believe you know that without needing me to explain further. Recently, in the past few years, Central TV Department 1's market share in the area of variety programs has been on a decline. The response to the programs has been tepid, so we would like for you to join us to help us create a program on Central TV that would recover its lost ground from the past few years. The program that you casually created for Beijing Television without much of your handling has already reached a viewership rating between 0.7% and 0.8%. Our team believes that if we give you a bigger platform to showcase your works on, then your new program will be sure to get a better reputation than Do You Remember which is already very well received by the audiences."
When Zhang Ye finished listening to him, he said, "Can I ask about something else? Did you all look for me to only handle the program planning?"
"Of course not." Jiang Yuan gave a wave of his hands at that and continued, "Although we have a lot of talented and elite hosts in Central TV, for example, the Spring Festival Gala hosts, every one of them are considered to be the top in the industry. Some are less popular than you while there are also others who are more well-known than you, but our Central TV hosts are generally more inclined towards galas, news, or interview programs, meaning that their style of hosting is more serious and formal. So if we wanted them to host in a funny and entertaining manner, it would not be done perfect or well at all. The audience's image of them has already been fixed, so not many of them can cross over to this style of hosting. But you're different. You can handle serious programs like Lecture Room or funny programs like Zhang Ye's Talk Show. This is your ability that we identified as what we liked. And you don't have any shortcomings when it comes to the switching of hosting styles either. That's why we not only wish for you to handle planning for a new program, but we would also like you to be the host or a guest celebrity on it."
Zhang Ye was actually already quite moved by the offer.
It wasn't anything that was explainable, but just based on the name of the satellite channel itself. "Central TV Department 1" was basically just too attractive!
Jiang Yuan continued, "Central TV Department 1 will soon have a program slot free for broadcast every Thursday at 9 PM."
"Thursdays?" Zhang Ye repeated the key word.
Jiang Yuan said, "Perhaps Thursday can no longer be considered a primetime slot in the traditional sense, but the Thursday evening variety slot still has a very large market and the audience base is still there."
Zhang Ye understood this. Central TV was just like a large ship with treasures, but that would naturally mean that they would not give a newcomer like Zhang Ye a share of it without seeing his performance. It was unlikely that they would give the Friday and weekend time-slots to him as that would be too much of a risk. However, a Thursday evening slot was still considerably good. After all, this was not some small-time television station but Central TV they were talking about. A Thursday evening slot would still be better than a weekend primetime slot at Beijing Television, so Zhang Ye would surely still be very satisfied with such an offer.
Jiang Yuan looked at him and said, "I believe you can see our sincerity in this offer. If you have any thoughts or requests, you can bring them up too and we can discuss them."
Zhang Ye nodded and said, "I do actually have two requests. The first is: if I join Central TV Department 1, then for this new program, I must be the executive director and have the final say on the operations and production of the entire program."
Jiang Yuan ruminated for a moment then said, "That would be fine, but we would want to have an executive producer from our side. Is that OK?"
"That shouldn't be a problem." Zhang Ye then brought up his second request, saying, "Second, I must be able to retain the copyright for the program that I create, including its name and format."
Jiang Yuan gave him a look and asked, "Why do you want the copyright? If the program's viewer ratings are good, then the program team would get bonus payouts too. We will put that into the contract, so how much are you looking at? Or perhaps we could bundle it together with your salary, that's fine too."
However, Zhang Ye said, "I don't require a bonus payout clause. It's just like a program production company selling their programs to a television station. I'm sure you can understand that I want our deal to be done in this manner too, except that I will be using Central TV's resources and facilities to do the program, which is why I am willing to give this program to your station free of charge and not ask for a copyright fee. We will carry out the other aspects of the program like any other program without any additional differences in the handling, but the copyright must remain in my control. If there is a decision to do a second or third season, or if a foreign television station wants to buy its copyrights, then I will be the one to decide whether to sell or not."
Jiang Yuan was rendered quite speechless by this, so he said, "This is the first time I've heard of such a request."
Zhang Ye laughed and said, "This is always how I've been doing my programs. Since I planned the program, then naturally the copyright would belong to me. This is the most important priority for me, above other things like salary, bonus, whatever. As long as those aren't too little, I'm generally fine with it. Since I retain control of the copyright, I know that I will have to take a step back on the salary."
His programs were all very precious to him, as using one now would mean one less resource for him in the future. Zhang Ye would not accept it if he worked hard on replicating a successful program from his previous world and brought it to this world, and ended up being kicked off from the television station after they had gotten the copyrights to the format and went on to do the next few seasons without him. So he knew that he had to be clear about this from the beginning like he did with his Zhang Ye's Talk Show which worked on a similar contractual agreement. This was the reason why Weiwo Online Television Station did not get another host to continue working on the same show as that was impossible without the copyright. This was a program that only Zhang Ye could use, unless they bought it from him for a sum of money or if Zhang Ye allowed them to use it for free on the basis of friendship and past relationships.
As for Lecture Room, that was an exception since the program was first proposed by the people at BTV-Arts Channel. Zhang Ye had only used their framework and modified it a little, so there was no talk of any copyright beforehand and neither could he talk about it. That was why BTV-Arts Channel had still continued making Lecture Room even though the show was essentially already a dead one.
Jiang Yuan said, "Please give it some consideration again. Our Central TV Department 1 has never signed this sort of a contract with a host before. It's impossible that the copyright would given to anyone other than the station itself."
Zhang Ye said, "Since I am the program planner, executive director, and host, this program can be considered as fully my work after it is completed, and so, the copyright should rightfully belong to me. Therefore, it's also impossible that I would give the ownership of the copyright to anyone else."
Jiang Yuan frowned and said, "But the production team is made up entirely of our staff, and besides the marketing and broadcasting fees also contribute to a part of the costs..."
"Which is why I am providing the program for free, without charging anything for the production and planning fees," Zhang Ye stated.
On this issue, the two of them had a disagreement. Jiang Yuan wanted to have a one time settlement with Zhang Ye on the program planning fees, but Zhang Ye did not want it except to retain his copyrights for the program.
Then, Jiang Yuan stood up and suggested, "How about this? Let me call my management first, since this is the first time something like this has been brought up. I'm unable to make a decision regarding this by myself."
"Sure." Zhang Ye nodded.
Jiang Yuan walked out of the coffee house.
Five minutes passed.
Ten minutes passed.
Finally, Jiang Yuan returned, sat down, and took a sip of coffee before saying, "The management has agreed, but have some requests too. The copyright can be yours, but any profits and generated benefits that the program makes during its course at Central TV-such as advertising fees, among others-will be retained by Central TV and not paid out to you. Since we will be using our resources, facilities, and funds to promote the show, we will surely need to get some form of compensation. This would include any types of benefits that occur as a result from its run on Central TV."
Zhang Ye considered for a moment and then raised up his head to say, "That will be fine!"
Jiang Yuan also revealed a smile as he stood up, putting his hand out. "So we have a deal then?"
"Yes! It's a deal!" Zhang Ye also put out his and shook his hand.
Jiang Yuan said, "Welcome aboard Central TV Department 1! We'll all be looking forward to your contributions!"
Central TV had quickly written up the contract.
This contract could be considered one of the most complicated ones that Central TV Department 1 had with a host before, and also one of the lesser-seen types in the industry. Within, it not only included the terms for a one year duration, planning and production responsibilities, it also included a list of the copyright and restrictions outside of the copyright, etc!
It was not that Zhang Ye wanted to be arrogant.
But it was better to be clear now than having disagreements later.
After all, Zhang Ye had been through quite a lot of troublesome situations in the past, so he felt that it was better to be blunt upfront to prevent unnecessary issues in the future.
After Zhang Ye went through the contract several times to check for any discrepancies, he finally put pen to paper and signed it!
-At the moment of signing, Zhang Ye had now officially joined Central TV Department 1!
1. A Chinese slang for being overpowered