(CBN - Global) April 15 -- Herbal tea company JDB Group has pulled the plug on its CNY810 million (USD125 million) sponsorship of 'The Voice of China' after copyright disputes helped to bring down what was once the nation's most popular reality television show.
In addition to copyright quarrels, the show produced by Shanghai Canxing Culture & Broadcast Co. and aired on Zhejiang Satellite TV, also lost its ratings appeal.
JDB did not make any comments to the press, but "the decision to pull out as title sponsor is not done purely out of cost considerations," an insider told CBN. "JDB is a very pragmatic company and has a well-defined brand positioning and strategy." The Dongguan-based company's 'Jiaduobao' herbal tea outsells Coca-Cola in China.
It is not clear what impact JDB's withdrawal will have on the format of 'The Voice of China,' Mr. Luo Yi, senior director of media cooperation at Canxing Culture, told CBN. Zhejiang Satellite TV responded that it had to "ask the leadership" about the matter.
Dutch TV firm Talpa Media, copyright holder of the global hit show, filed a lawsuit on March 17 against the 'The Voice of China' producer, claiming copyright infringement and seeking CNY3 million (USD464,000) in damages. Canxing Culture, also known as Star Media, is accused of unauthorized use of images and text similar to those used by 'The Voice' during Season 5 of 'The Voice of China.'
Mr. Lu Wei, director of promotions at Canxing Culture, told CBN early last month that the official logo used since the start of the new season is totally unlike that of Talpa's. The colors and text are both different, and there is no English text with the Chinese words for 'The Voice of,' he said. Moreover, the trademark was registered in China in March 2014, he said.
Zhejiang Talent Television & Film Co. last month said it had signed a letter of intent with Talpa, and would be licensed to use "The Voice of" trademark.