This week’s Asia TV Forum and market in Singapore was attended by TV programme creators, distributors and buyers from inside and outside Asia. During the pre-market conference, key messages from both global and regional TV players were:
• Global production companies are looking for co-production opportunities in Asia rather than just selling finished programmes
• Asia’s content creators are looking to create more original content that cater not only to the local audience but also the international market
• China’s TV broadcasters are ready to go digital and international.
International companies including Walt Disney-owned Maker Studios, All3Media and Keshet all expressed an interest in Asia co-production in order to exploit local talent and to better understand the audience. Maker Studios set up a Southeast Asia hub in Singapore in 2014 and has been actively searching for local talent through audition event Maker Bootcamp. It sees the region as an untapped market and intends to continue to nurture local digital content creation. The high mobile adoption in Asia is also driving short-form video in which the company specialises.
During the event, UK-based production group All3Media also revealed its plan to establish a new office in Asia next year. The company announced a formats pitch which the final round will take place at next year’s market. Are You Normal is the format it intends to push to the Asian territories after getting positive audiences in China. Another format creator, Israel’s Keshet, addressed the company’s strategy of ‘less global, more regional’ while giving the example of creating a format in China and distributing it to other countries in the Asia region with similar taste, value and language.
DJ Lee, president of media content at South Korea’s CJ E&M, said the company started to produce its own content a decade ago after relying almost entirely on acquisitions. The company’s aim is to create content which works for its own audiences and travels internationally, including 4K programming and digital content that is not available on linear TV.
One of Chinese provincial broadcaster Jiangsu Broadcasting International’s key agendas is to welcome more collaboration with international production companies. It has set up a format development centre in London and hopes to become a content exporter. In China, digital platforms have been less a threat than a tool used by many broadcasters to promote their TV programmes and sell TV rights (the prices of online TV rights are rising and are often worth more than traditional TV rights). Nevertheless, Zhejiang Broadcasting is one of the few to recognise the threat by digital platforms including Youku Tudou and iQiyi which have 500 million and 344 million active users respectively. It has expressed its readiness to embrace the shift and to create more collaborations with digital platforms.