Page 1




K-drama: Winners & the others

WarnerMedia: Insiders’ guide to the new Asia structure

Sony Pictures Television presents Leonardo There is more to the master

Plus: Streaming insights, Thai drama & ďŹ nding funding

From finished to formats… Roadkill - A politician of our times All creatures great small – based on the worldwide best-selling novels The Cube – the multi-award-winning primetime format is back Available as finished and format Knock Knock Fun behind every door FORGE PLAYGROUND OBJECTIVE MEDIA GROUP HITCH IKER @allmedia_int All3mediainternational.com

The deceived – who can you trust when you can’t trust yourself? The sounds – where nothing is as it seems ….. content ready for every schedule Catch me out - Even beginners can fool you Celebrity gogglebox- from the screen to the sofa

New pictures Sound Pacific Pictures GlitterBox Fizz Studio Lambert All3media


what’s inside...


Ed’s note Roll on 2021, but meanwhile...

K-Drama charts

2020 may not go down in Korean drama history as the best year ever, but at least two records were shattered... & the year is not over yet.


United We Stand

Aus counts Covid costs

Australia’s drama production fell to five-year lows in 2019/20, with the exception of foreign spend, which was way up, according to Screen Australia’s new drama report, which charts the havoc Covid-19 has wreaked on the country’s production industries.


Drama in Myanmar

Lake Pyar season 1

Myanmar’s pay-TV platform, Canal+ Myanmar FG, returns original crime series Lake Pyar for a second season in early 2021, one of at least four prime time originals drama productions the platform is planning over the next year.


GO places

Magdalene Ew, WarnerMedia’s new head of entertainment for India, Korea and Southeast Asia, talks about what’s ahead.

WarnerMedia enters 2021 in dramatically different shape in Asia. Clement Schwebig, head of India, Southeast Asia and Korea, talks about the new structure and what it all means.


Ma Yili as Su Wenli in Miss S

Voice international In The Rain © Tencent China & all3media

The intention is to go local, to work with and showcase talent from across Asia, including directors and actors, not only in Asia but also elsewhere in the world.” Magdalene Ew, WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks, Asia Pacific

page 24

With so much more competition, we all have to look at exclusivity differently. It’s very much about where best to put your dollars and what kind of exclusivity is important to you.” Virginia Lim, Viu

page 32

The view

Values proposition

Viu continues to cherry pick the cream of Korean drama, has shattered rights barriers in Japan and turbo-charged production in Indonesia. Chief Content Officer Virginia Lim talks about what else is on her radar and why.

30 4


Group M’s Motion Content Group, APAC MD, Steven Murphy, talks about investing in premium content in Asia and where the value lies.

Voice In The Rain, Viu

36 contentasia december 2020

A mother’s guilt Hekimoglu (Everybody lies) Meryem

Atf Asian TV Forum & Market Meet us to explore the journey of drama Kanal D International


what’s inside... (con’t) Bold rush

iQiyi is bolder than ever, streaming across the region with its own high-end Chinese productions, expensive rights acquisitions and plans to ramp up local originals. iQiyi SVP, Chen Xiao, speaks about the what, how and why of redefining content for a new entertainment universe

Dividing Line

To make new content, we should not only tell a different story but tell it in a brand new way.”

Line Thailand’s chief business officer, Kanop Supamanop, believes the way forward involves clear business objectives applied to every piece of content created or acquired, greater collaboration on various fronts, optimising relationships with smaller producers, and his belief that successful streaming platforms will find their own sweet spots.

Chen Xiao, iQiyi

page 42


Rise & shine

What creates a better experience for our audience is when we have communities talking together.”

Thai drama had a record year across Asia, thanks in no small part of the efforts of Bangkok-based JKN Global Media. CEO, Anne Jakrajutatip, talks about Thai trends, the growth of OTT and her firm belief in the ongoing strength of free TV.


Kanop Supamanop, Line Company Thailand

page 45

We should be focusing on freeto-air, with OTT as something extra. Streaming is a difficult business... Right now, freeto-air is my main business.” Anne Jakrajutatip, JKN Global Media PCL

page 50

Sun shines

A Daughters tale

Too dark for broadcast TV, Thai drama Daughters is seeing the light of day courtesy of a streaming environment & a platform determined to tell a different type of story. Director Mangmoom Rattakul talks about the resurrection of a series that not only consumed her for years, but that she had given up on seeing aired.


Thai director, Chudapha Chantakett, dialed down the comedy & upped the confl ict in her latest prime-time series, My Forever Sunshine, where the leads are as pretty as ever but character development pushes the boundaries and heroes may not be very heroic.

54 6



Programming picks

In the run up to this year’s ATF, here’s a look at what’s top of our watch list...

Chudapha Chantakett, My Forever Sunshine

58 contentasia december 2020

2020 Singapore Media Festival Asian Storytelling, reimagined 26 Nov – 6 Dec Featuring Virtual Events Seal the deal with atf online+ The Asian TV Forum & market returns with ATF Online+ digital platform to enable you to participate from anywhere, anytime. Experience virtual industry ‘speed dating’ sessions, connect with buyers and sellers, and access conference and thought-leadership sessions to discover the new business opportunities. Find out more. Recognising creative excellence from Asia The Asian Academy Creative Awards goes virtual with tis annual show co-hosted by Bobby Tonelli and Yvette King, and the winners’ red carpet hosted by Munah Bagharib. With the 4-day Gold Pass, you can access a range of acclaimed content, star-studded talent, and closed-door industry events. Thursday, 3rd December the grand awards Post-show winner’s red carpet Friday, 4th December The AAA red carpet The gala final Plus the 2-day national winners conference Tuesday, 1st December & Wednesday, 2nd December Find out more Singapore International fil festival goes hybrid The iconic Singapore International Film Festival returns for the 31st year with a hybrid edition. the festival features over 70 films that celebrate the magic of cinema and the art of firlmmaking in Singapore, Southeast Asia, and beyond. The festival will include masterclasses and panel discussions, and the Silver Screen Awards, which recognizes emerging Asian filmmakers and cinema legends. Find out more SGMediaFest www.imda.gov.sg/sgmdiafest


Roll on 2021, but meanwhile... Demand for original content has never been higher in Asia – even with-

continues to build, with almost 80 original productions in six years and

out failed streaming platforms Hooq and iflix, whose contribution to the


region’s production industry was, it turns out, more like 90% noise and

GoPlay in Indonesia has a radically local approach that includes

10% money. As expected, Fox+ is going, going, gone, but the platform,

ramping up home-grown stories. Meanwhile, the Jakarta-based team,

by itself, never contributed to original production so no impact there.

led by Michael Lewis, is on the market for scripted formats, like Gossip Girl

As 2021 dawns, Netflix seems unstoppable even if, by its own admission, there’s a lot more work to be done. No one has laid bare details of their entire slates for 2021, but we expect WarnerMedia, in its latest incarnation, to ramp up production investment in content it is likely to label HBO Asia Originals. Whether the

Indonesia, that will fast-track its plans. In India, Netflix is battling Amazon Prime Video, Disney’s Hotstar Specials is holding its own with its relatively recent venture into prime-time drama, and there are flashes of brilliance from the likes of SonyLiv and Voot. In Taiwan, the Catchplay Group’s Catchplay+ and LGBTQ+ platform

commitment is to its own development or to an early seat at the table

GagaOOLala are driving regional original content agendas shaped

of someone else’s, the bottom line is support for new content creation.

by their strong and long-standing commitment to authen-

Disney+ has local production in Southeast Asia on its radar, but there’s no timetable and all eyes are on how newly appointed chief

tic storytelling and backed by government funding with strings carefully arranged to support not strangle.

content officer, Izham Omar, will exit the originals starting gate. Right

What has all this activity meant to production

now, Disney+’s local content strategy pretty much looks like millions of

budgets? Anecdotal evidence indicates that

dollars being spent acquiring rights to existing content, libraries and di-

costs have been driven up the high demand, as

rect-to-streaming theatrical features. And that’s only in Indonesia.

well as by Covid-19 protocols.

PCCW’s Viu, also in its new incarnation as a separate entity from Now,

Indonesia and Malaysia are up by about 10%,

is about to press go on its latest originals slate – the first under chief con-

with steeper increases to maybe 15% in Thai-

tent office Virginia Lim. No one would judge Viu if it, like everyone else,

land, producers say.

abandoned its purist approach to originals and started investing in shows

Different forces are at work In China, where

that it can call “originals” even if they aren’t. Well, not really in the world

costs soared to crazy in the years prior to Co-

as we used to know it, but we’re not in that world anymore, are we?

vid. Now, regulations capping talent costs

Mainland Chinese streamer iQiyi has just wrapped production on its

have contributed to a drop of 25%-30% in pro-

first Southeast Asia original, The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang, and

duction budgets from the RMB7m-RMB8m/

there is every indication (rumours of a sale to Tencent/Alibaba notwith-

US$1m-US$1.2m of years gone by to perhaps

standing and putting aside challenges in Taiwan) that iQiyi will back its

RMB5-RMB6m or lower today.

global growth ambitions with more original content.

Equally, programmers say acquisitions

Tencent, meanwhile, has ingested iflix, has promised originals in Indo-

budgets are down across the region as

nesia and has an open-door policy to creative partnerships for regional

platforms battle with the impact of Co-

streaming service WeTV.

vid-19, which has depressed ad revenues.

There’s talk that Amazon is prepping an unscripted series with a Japanese link that will have strong input from Singapore; no announcement yet. Thailand’s Line, under chief content business officer, Kanop Supamanop,

And so we end 2020... with some ups, a lot of downs and high hopes for a Covid-19 vaccine. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!

Editorial Director Janine Stein Assistant Editor Malena Amzah malena@contentasia.tv Research & Production CJ Yong cj@contentasia.tv Design Rae Yong

INTERNATIONAL Associate Publisher (Americas, Europe) and VP, International Business Development Leah Gordon leah@contentasia.tv

What is ContentAsia?

ASIA Sales and Marketing Manager Masliana Masron mas@contentasia.tv

To receive your regular free copy of ContentAsia, please email i_want@contentasia.tv

ContentAsia is an Asia-based information resource that refines today’s info-deluge into usable, digestible, and reliable intelligence about entertainment content creation, funding, financing, licensing, distribution, design and branding and technology across the Asia-Pacific region. ContentAsia’s range of products include electronic, print and online publications.

Copyright 2020 Pencil Media Pte Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Published by: Pencil Media Pte Ltd l 730A Geylang Road, Singapore 389641 l T: +65 6846 5987 l W: www.contentasia.tv


contentasia december 2020

Join us at ATF The queen and the conqueror Living to love Ana’s Revenge The road to love Golden Dreams Atf online Dec/1-4 Estefania Arteaga International Sales Director/Asia earteaga@caracoltv.com.co www.caracolinternacional.com


korean drama 2020 may not go down in Korean drama history as the best year ever, but at least two records were shattered – the highest cable drama ratings ever for BBC’s Dr Foster adaptation, The World of the Married, on JTBC, and the most unconventional portrayal ever of North Korea in tvN’s Crash Landing on You... and the year’s not over yet, with True Beauty, Mr Queen, Hush and Blade of the Phantom Master still to come. KBS has Cheat on Me if You Can coming on 2 Dec, capping a truly horrible drama year for the public broadcast behemoth. ContentAsia looks at the domestic performance of 30 Korean dramas in 2020, all of which premiered simultaneously on streaming platforms outside of Korea. 1.

The World of the Married (JTBC)

Adapted from BBC’s Dr Foster about a successful couple whose lives unravel after she suspects him of cheating


Dr. Romantic 2 (SBS)

A sequel to SBS’s 2016 hospital drama


Crash Landing on You (tvN)

A South Korean heiress crash lands in North Korea and falls in love with a captain in the N. Korean military


Itaewon Class (JTBC)

Webtoon-based story about a young man jailed for attempted murder and his search for vengeance


The Penthouse (SBS)

Women become evil to protect themselves, their children and their ambition

27 Mar-16 May 2020



6 Jan-25 Feb 2020



14 Dec 2019-16 Feb 2020



31 Jan-21 Mar 2020



26 Oct 2020-4 Jan 2021

16% (as of 24 Nov)



Hospital Playlist (tvN)

Five doctors remain friends since medical school

12 Mar-28 May 2020




Good Casting

Undercover agents go after the murderer of one of their own

27 Apr- 6 June 2020




Nobody Knows (SBS)

A detective is determined to find her friend’s killer

2 Mar-21 Apr 2020




The King: Eternal Monarch (SBS)

Fantasy about a Korea split between past and present, and the two men who try to close the gap

17 Apr-12 June 2020




Backstreet Rookie (SBS)

Webtoon-based story about a convenience store owner and the girl he hires to work the night shift

19 June-8 Aug 2020




Alice (SBS)

Time-travel sci-fi romance about a detective with no emotions and a woman from another dimension

28 Aug - 24 Oct 2020




Stranger (season 2) (tvN)

Crime thriller set two years after the S1 finale; the two detectives team up once again to investigate

15 Aug-4 Oct 2020




Record of Youth (tvN)

A drama about the lives and loves of three young people in the fashion industry

7 Sept-27 Oct 2020




Lie After Lie (Channel A)

A woman convicted of murder pretends to be in love with the man who adopted her daughter

4 Sept-24 Oct 2020




The Good Detective (JTBC)

Detectives and an investigative journalist uncover the truth

6 July - 25 Aug 2020




Forest (KBS)

A love story, set in a mysterious forest, about a man with no heart and a woman who is all heart

29 Jan-19 Mar 2020




It’s Ok Not to Be Ok (tvN)

Romantic drama about the author of children’s books and the caretaker of a psychiatric ward

10 June-9 Aug 2020




Kkondae Intern (MBC)

Workplace comedy/drama

20 May-1 July 2020




Delayed Justice (SBS)

Lawyers & journalists team up to fight for justice

30 Oct-9 Jan 2020

6.7% (as of 28 Nov)



Do You Like Brahms? (SBS)

Romantic drama about classical music students

31 Aug-20 Oct 2020




Tale of the Nine Tailed (tvN)

A mythical fantasy drama about a nine-tailed fox reincarnated in the present but still living out past grievances.

7 Oct-3 Dec 2020

5.804% (as of 26 Nov)



Flower of Evil (tvN)

A perfect couple disintegrates under the weight of secrets & lies

19 July-23 Sept 2020




Start-Up (tvN)

Bae Suzy stars as a woman who dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and the man trying to win her heart

17 Oct-6 Dec 2020

5.424% (as of 22 Nov)



Find Me in Your Memory (MBC)

Love story berween a man who remembers everying and a woman who has forgotten her past

18 Mar-13 May 2020




Soul Mechanic (KBS)

A story about psychiatrists trying to heal rather than just treat

6 May-25 June 2020




When I was Most Beautiful (MBC)

A woman who dreams of becoming a ceramic artist is caught between two brothers

19 Aug-15 Oct 2020




The Game: Towards Zero (MBC)

A man who can foresee death and a detective team up

22 Jan-12 Mar 2020




The Spies Who Loved Me (MBC)

Spy drama about a wedding dress designer and her two husbands

21 Oct-16 Dec 2020 (as of 12 Nov)




Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol (KBS)

Romcom about a bankrupt pianist and an unambitious parttimer who meet at a countryside piano institute

7 Oct-26 Nov 2020




Zombie Detective (KBS)

Fantasy drama about a detective and an investigative journalist who team up to solve crimes

21 Sept-17 Oct 2020



Notes: Prime-time drama series (16-20 episodes) above are ranked by peak ratings. The list only includes titles that aired on Korean broadcast or cable stations, and excludes titles released only on Netflix or other streaming services. Other titles we tracked but didn’t make the top 20 include KBS’ Born Again, which peaked at 4.1% on ep1 and fell steadily to 1.3%; Men Are Men, also from KBS (early series peak of 4.4% fell to 1.7% by episode 13, recovering slightly to end at 3.1%); Into the Ring (aka Memorials), another dud from KBS that struggled to a 3.7% peak in ep2 and fell to 2% by ep12; tvN’s Memorist (11 Mar-30 Apr about a detective with the power to read minds and a criminal profiler, high of 3.434% and low of 2.16%); JTBC’s 18 Again (21 Sept-10 Nov, about a man who morphs into his 18-year-old body but keeps his 37-year-old mind, peaked at 3.209% with a low of 1.753%)); More Than Friends, which peaked at 1.612%; and Private Lives (7 Oct to 26 Nov; con-artists uncover a sinister government scheme), also from JTBC, peaked at 2.522% but trawled the bottom of the ratings charts with a low of 1.217%; and KBS’ Welcome, which goes down in history as the free-TV show with the lowest rating of 0.8%. Source: AGB Nielsen, nationwide 10

contentasia december 2020

Descendants of the Sun The Philippine Adaption 35x45’ (approx.) Drama

I can see you 20x30’ Drama-anthalogy The heart of Filipino Dramas GMA Network Direct line +632 8333 7633 to 34 Email: gwi@gmanetwork.com Gmaworldwidediv


drama production

Australia counts Covid-19 costs Australia’s drama production fell to five-year lows in 2019/20, with the exception of foreign spend, which was way up, according to Screen Australia’s new drama report, which charts the havoc Covid-19 has wreaked on the country’s production industries.

Screen Australia’s 2019/20 drama report tells a chilling – if expected – tale

A$543m/US$399m (55%) on Australian titles that started principal photog-

of the havoc Covid-19 wreaked on the domestic drama industry. While

raphy during 2019/20.

media authorities in much of the region don’t publish similar studies,


A$205m/US$150m was spent on 19 Australian features, a 36% decrease

there’s little that says widespread shut downs haven’t had an impact as

on last year and 20% below the five-year average. 20 Australian general

dramatic... or worse. And this may not even be all of it. Screen Australia

TV drama titles attracted spend of A$198m/US$145m – a drop of 39% on

acknowledges the difficulty of effectively capturing the full scale of the

last year’s record spend, and 31% below the five-year average. Hours

pandemic’s impact, and says the data captured “does not adequately reflect the personal cost to cast and crew, and it is doubtful that it illus-

were down by features 19%. All Australian (domestic and Co-production) by budget ranges Online drama, defined as programmes that debut on streaming platforms

trates the full economic cost, which may take years to be realised”.

such as Stan and ABC iView, tells the most optimistic story, with hours up by

The pandemic is estimated to have postponed around 26 Australian

16% even though there were fewer titles, and “considerable” increases in

drama titles with total budgets exceeding A$325m/US$239m. Several of

budgets/spend. Total spend on Australian online drama almost doubled

these titles are now slated to enter production in 2020/21, which is affect-

from A$49m/US$36m in 2018/9 to A$94m/US$69m in 2019/20. Average per

ing the scheduling of other titles. “The pandemic continues to seriously IN AUSTRALIA

hour spend rose from A$1.31m/US$964,278 to A$1.74m/US$1.28m.


79% of the 19 features that started production in 2019/20 were made for

affect the development, production, and release of drama throughout

less than A$10m/US$7.4m. The proportion of features being made in the

Australia,” the report says. Drama production spend in 2019/20 fell well below five-year averages, with the exception of A$447m/US$329m foreign spend on 41 produc-

sub-A$1 million range has declined steadily over the last four years, while production in the A$1-5m range has remained relatively consistent.

tions, which is two less than last year but way up on the previous three

Expenditure on Australian general TV drama was down 39% on 2018/19’s

years. 23 of the foreign productions (including those coming to Australia

record spend. A$198m/US$146m was spent on 20 general TV drama titles

for post-production, digital and visual effects) in 2019/20 were feature

that commenced production during the year and generated 351 hours of

films (A$255m/US$188m spend), three are general TV drama (total A$1m/

content. These titles had total budgets of A$198m/US$146m, which trans-

US$736,218) and two were online dramas with spend of less than A$1 milEXPENDITURE BY STATE

lates to A$564,000/US$415,152 per hour. Across the total general TV drama

lion. The five-year foreign-spend average is A$384m/US$283m.

slate, hours, budgets, spend, and average cost per hour were the lowest

Total spend dropped 18% to A$991 million/US$729 million, including

TOTAL EXPENDITURE Total AUSTRALIAN Australian expenditure

Total Australian expenditure 1,400

in over 10 years, the report found.

Budget range proportions Budget range proportions BUDGET RANGE PROPORTIONS








$ million

$866m 800

586 $787m 4

31 262


126 26 43

66 314



295 49 101

54 49






94 46 198







37% 42%

205 0

0 2015/16 Aus Features

2016/17 Aus General TV Drama Foreign Features



Aus Children's TV Drama











6% 18%






2019/20 Aus Online Drama















Foreign TV + Online Drama

Source: Screen Australia Drama Report. Production of feature films, TV and online drama in Australia in 2019/20


contentasia december 2020

Korea Pavilion Meet top Korean broadcaster @ atf AK Entertainment Leader of new media Arirang BGMC Bethel Global Media Contents A Channel CJ EnM Daehan Mediaworld EBS iHQ entertainment & Media group Intercom Media JTBC KakaoM KBS Media King Content LIAN content MBC MBC+ P&E Studio PDCTrend Playoncast SBS SkyTV Something special T.Cast Wildtale production company Yoon & Company Inc Young & Contents Request a meeting


drama production

Canal+ Myanmar FG returns first female TV detective Lake Pyar is part of ambitious original drama plans as the French-backed pay-TV platform ramps up local engagement

Lake Pyar Season 1

Myanmar’s pay-TV platform, Canal+ Myanmar FG, returns original crime

of zombie thriller action series Toxic (12x52 mins). Directed by Htut Tin Htut,

series Lake Pyar for a second season on 28 January 2021, one of at least

the series is about a scientist and his son teaming up with a group of

four prime time originals drama productions the platform is planning over

people to survive a zombie apocalypse caused by experiments gone

the next year.

wrong. Season one aired in 2018, followed by a second season last year.

The new season of Lake Pyar is preceded by a 52-minute one-off Christmas special.

Two more original series -- an adventure action drama and a thriller action drama – are in the works and scheduled to release in Q2 and Q4 2021.

Lake Pyar, the platform’s (and possibly the country’s) first-ever crime ac-

The company says “many more unique fictional stories are in the devel-

tion drama with a female lead, debuted in Oct 2019 as an eight-episode

opment process”. The aim is to support and promote local talent at home

prime time series and remains the most popular show to date, says Canal+

and abroad with the collaboration of all entities of the Canal+ group”.

Myanmar’s channels editorial manager, May Wah Lwin. Lake Pyar follows a female detective, Lake Pyar (which means butterfly), solving cases in Myanmar’s capital city, Yangon. Each episode features a different criminal case. The special will air on 24 December at 8pm on family channel, Canal+ Zat Lenn. The original cast and crew are is back for the special and the eight-part second season. Lake Pyar is directed and written by Nyan Htin. Pan Yaung Chel stars

Original production continues to be one of the key programming strategies of Canal+ Myanmar FG. Although no figures have been released, the company says the number of original content hours and production budgets for 2021 are up significantly from last year. Lwin says the greatest challenge in original production is that “Myanmar is still a growing country with new generation and young talents. The script development, pre-production, casting and post-production, each stage has its own different set of challenges”.

as Lake Pyar, Khar Ra as senior detective Tun Ko, Myat Noe Aye as crime

France’s Canal+ Group launched commercial DTH services in Myan-

forensic doctor Myat Noe, Charlie as senior detective Myo Min and Aung

mar in early 2018 following a 2017 deal with the Forever Group. Canal+

Ye Htike as IT expert detective Paing Soe.

Myanmar FG is the reincarnation of Forever Group’s pay-TV service 4TV

Canal+ Myanmar’s original slate for next year also includes season three


(launched in 2005 as MRTV-4 International). – Malena Amzah

contentasia december 2020


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Distributed by

productioninterview Wonder Woman

United we stand WarnerMedia enters 2021 in dramatically different shape in Asia. Clement Schwebig, head of India, Southeast Asia and Korea, talks about the new structure and what it all means. When Wonder Woman 1984 hits theatres in Asia in the run up to Christmas,

premium and basic pay-TV, premi-

Clement Schwebig, WarnerMedia’s new head of India, Southeast Asia

um cable and, ultimately, free-to-air

and Korea, gets to display the power of the newly integrated business for

broadcast,” he says.

the first time. The US$200-million film releases theatrically across his markets from 17 December (Singapore) to early January (Philippines). Unlike the

Clement Schwebig

WarnerMedia’s new windowing strategy “is our single biggest opportunity now that we have full control of the content journey,” he adds.

U.S., where WarnerMedia is going with a hybrid day-and-date theatrical/

“Despite the setbacks in this pandemic year and the on-going un-

streaming release, the movie will stream/air on other platforms in Asia later;

certainties brought about different countries in different stages of

release dates have not been confirmed.

lockdown, theatrical remains a significant and core business for us.

Only on the very surface does that look a whole lot different from the old days in Asia... A week into his role as head of the fully integrated, end-to-end Turner/ HBO/Warner Bros business, Schwebig tells ContentAsia that the reorganisation “crucially allows us to operate at scale and to optimise investments in content and relationships in a way we previously could not”. The advantages are many, he adds, topped by the ability to manage and determine the entire content and consumer experience “journey”.

Equally, our streamer HBO Go is not fully distributed across every territory in the region, so we need to adopt a case-by-case, country-bycountry approach.” Another advantage of the integration is the ability to have a single conversation with partners, from linear to licensing. And then there are the efficiencies which he says will allow reallocation of resources to where they are most required – “in creating more content”.

“What that means, in the case of an upcoming blockbuster like Wonder

The reorganisation aligns the company in Asia with WarnerMedia CEO

Woman 1984, is that we have full control over how best to optimise the

Jason Kilar’s priority to ‘going global’. The vision is for a large majority

windowing and monetisation of the whole franchise in the region. From

of global revenues to originate from the business outside of the U.S. “To

its debut in theatres through to PVOD, home entertainment, streaming,

achieve that, Asia will definitely have to play a big part of that growth


contentasia december 2020


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We firmly believe we have a right to play and a right to win in the streaming space.” Clement Schwebig Head of India, Southeast Asia and Korea, WarnerMedia

Adventure of the Ring, HBO Asia original

flagship streaming service in our region while concurrently planning for the future launch of HBO Max,” he says, adding: “As you can imagine, this will take some time.”. Asked about the platform’s potential in Asia against global streamers, which have made an aggressive play for local rights, particularly in Korea, Thailand and Indonesia, Schwebig says: “We firmly believe we have a right to play and a right to win in the streaming space”. “In terms of content, HBO Go has a formidable proposition. It is the streaming home of the entire HBO original programming, multi-Emmy Award winning library and new HBO Max Originals, all of which are day

and it is the reason why this region is so important,” Schwebig says.

and date with the U.S.,” he says.

While the Asia integration will mirror the WarnerMedia International

“We also have more post-theatrical, first-window Hollywood movies

structure, Schwebig says “every region is also a little different – it’s defi-

than any other streamer in the region, the importance of which should

nitely not a one-size or one-strategy-fits-all approach”.

not be underestimated given how premium blockbusters in Asia remain

“For India, Southeast Asia and Korea we have chosen to divide the whole region into a matrix of ‘lines of business’ and ‘operational functions’ that support all our businesses,” he says.

a major draw and driver for viewership,” he adds. He also points out that HBO Go is “home to more Asian series and movies than ever”, listing eight HBO Asia originals launched this year – includ-

Unique to Asia is combining advertising sales with licensing and mer-

ing Invisible Stories in Singapore, Workers in Taiwan and new Taiwanese

chandising. The blended team “can now provide turn-key solutions to

series Adventure of the Ring, which premieres on 13 December – in addi-

our partners for integrated campaigns and multi-dimensional events”.

tion to Korean and Chinese series and movie acquisitions.

Asia will also retain HBO Go as its streaming brand – for now. Schwebig says there is no timetable for the transformation of HBO Go into HBO Max.

“We have established ourselves as a major storyteller in the region,” he says.

“While it’s too early to commit to dates in Asia, it is very clear that the

“Kids and family content is a huge factor in subscriber retention for

launch of HBO Max internationally is a key priority, including over here

any streamer, and HBO Go doubled its volume in this genre during 2020

in Asia. In the interim, we are committed to HBO Go as WarnerMedia’s

– and we hope to double it again in 2021. We will soon have more than


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1,000 hours,” he says. WarnerMedia’s kids’ brands across the Asia Pacific,

– on our streamer, consumer products, events and on social media. In

including India, Southeast Asia and Korea, are overseen by Leslie Lee,

effect, the channels are also great branding tools”.

based in Singapore. In 2020, HBO Go’s subscriber base more than doubled, “and we want to carry that momentum into 2021,” Schwebig says. The app is available through partner platforms in eight Southeast Asian territories as well as direct to consumer. It goes without saying that he’s aiming to increase that footprint.

Increasingly, he adds, “pay-TV platforms appreciate that they can offer their subscribers a bundle with both an on-demand streaming service and a linear TV channel. It’s a win-win for consumers”. Asian originals continue to be a “top priority”, he promises, talking about delivering “authentic local stories” to diverse audiences in the region. “For entertainment, we’re keen to look at more co-pros that allow us

The reorg is part of his plan to get there. “It’s vitally important for our

early participation in projects, as well as acquisitions, formats and even

whole company to get behind the push to grow our OTT streaming ser-

non-scripted shows... Certainly, more content designed to appeal to

vice,” he says, adding: “We will need to think and act differently, and our

younger demos and more women will be a focus, but there will also be a

reorganisation is an important part of that”.

push to develop more mainstream content that can travel. In return, we

HBO Go’s current multi-pronged distribution strategy, which Schwebig says is “working well for us”, will continue. The three main distri-

provide creators a chance for their content to travel around the world via our platforms, including HBO Max in the U.S.”

bution models are free access for premium subscribers of the HBO

“In the kids sphere, we also have ambitious plans to broaden the view-

package on pay-TV platforms; packaging or bundling the streaming

ership base to an even younger audience, and will continue to both

app with the data or video packages of distribution partners – either

acquire and produce accordingly,” he says.

a mobile or broadband data package or a top tier of video services;

The new Asia structure consolidates programming and production un-

or allowing third-party distributors to sell HBO Go as a standalone

der Magdalene Ew as head of entertainment content for India, South-


east Asia and Korea.

Linear channels remain a core business globally, including Asia, where

Schwebig says the new integrated team “allows for stronger align-

the channels are distributed in more than 100 million pay-TV house-

ment and prioritisation of resources between programming, channel

holds. “They contribute a significant portion of our revenue, and build an

scheduling, acquisition and production for both our linear channels

awareness for our franchise that is very complementary to our theatrical

and HBO Go”.

and streaming business,” Schwebig says.

“With data and market experience, we can better analyse, identify

He mentions strong linear brands with a “long, storied history... What

gaps and navigate accordingly. With the networks and theatrical col-

that means is that when Cartoon Network, HBO and CNN post leadership

leagues now working on the same team, we can also look at greater col-

ratings over many years, it provides a halo effect across every platform

laboration in the production of features.” But first, Wonder Woman 1984.


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The intention is to go local, to work with and showcase talent from across Asia, including directors and actors, not only in Asia but also elsewhere in the world.” Magdalene Ew Head of Entertainment for India, Southeast Asia & Korea WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks, Asia Pacific

GO places WarnerMedia heads into 2021 with new structure that puts all entertainment for India, Korea and Southeast Asia under Magdalene Ew, a sharp eye on the direction streaming platform HBO Go is taking, and a critical eye on an original production strategy that covers investment and development. WarnerMedia Entertainment premieres HBO Asia’s Taiwanese romcom,

not only in Asia, but also elsewhere in the world.” HBO in the U.S., for in-

Adventure of the Ring, in mid-December, capping a year that included

stance, picked up HBO Asia original production, Invisible Stories, directed

the acquisition of extensive rights for all3media International’s Miss S,

by Ler Jiyuan and starring Yeo Yann Yann. “So that’s my intention. The

which is billed as an HBO original, the premiere of international co-pro

idea here is to be able to deliver a production a month and every week

The Head in June, followed in August by the Singapore-based regional

having an episode of our Asian original production on top of the regular

programmer’s first sci-fi production, Dream Raider.

shows that we get from HBO Max and HBO,” she said.

As massive global integration swept through corporate offices, the platform in Asia saw kids content triple year-on-year; lots of energy

In a Q&A about programming the premium platform for Asia, Ew also told us...

around HBO Max titles coming into Asia, including The Undoing, The Flight Attendant and Raised by Wolves; rapid fire rollouts of Asian streaming

The U.S. is obviously the scene of the fiercest fight over movies and li-

platform HBO Go; and a bundle of entertainment channels and services

braries with the studios launching their own streaming services and pulling

programmed with everything from Korea’s Moon Fishing in Aewol to Chi-

rights in-house. How much does that impact acquisitions for HBO in Asia?

na’s The Heart to Aquaman, Jumanji and We Bare Bears.

“Fortunately for us we have our own WarnerMedia networks of brands... like

Counting down to the dawn of what will be the first full year with an

Cartoon Network, TBS, DC, Warner. We’ve also obviously got a lot of great

integrated programming and production division, WarnerMedia is build-

original production from HBO and HBO Max coming through. And besides

ing on a slate of about 20 HBO Asia originals, and all eyes are on what

all that, we have our long-term relationships and output deals with the stu-

direction new entertainment content head, Magdalene Ew, will take.

dios. And we acquire a lot from other third-party studios and content from

“It has been a busy year,” Ew told ContentAsia at the end of August

indie production companies. So far, there have not been any issues...

during the ContentAsia Summit. “The intention is to go local, to work with

We will start to see a lot more productions coming from HBO and HBO

and showcase talent from across Asia, including directors and actors,

Max from next year onwards. Obviously Covid has thrown a spanner in


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the works but all in all we can see at least 100 hours of new content com-

kids content has tripled year-on-year. Series like The Head and Workers

ing through our network next year. And we obviously have a lot of kids

did well for us too. I think shows that have local relevance, which feature

content, like We Bare Bears, Loony Tunes, Sesame Street... that helps us to

casts from local markets, do well for us. And movies of course, year-on-

increase the stickiness of the platform.”

year, day in day out, those are our mainstay. So those are great results... we have more than 2,000 hours of HBO library content, and those titles

Do HBO Max originals automatically come to you?

still do well, led by Game of Thrones... So, there are really no surprises.”

“Nothing comes automatically! But obviously there’s a deal we’ve cut with our team in the U.S. All the content is going to be controlled and

Has data changed the way you curate HBO Go?

distributed by Warner Brothers; all those will come to us through our out-

“Yes, of course. Obviously now everyone sees data as king, but it’s sci-

put deal.”

ence. Most important is not to treat data as a silver bullet for everything. There’s the brand that we need to maintain, there are many factors that

Is it too early to ask what impact HBO will have on your audience profile

affect the way we curate. But, yes, all in all data does affect what we

or demographic in Asia?

decide to produce and what we acquire.

“It’s a bit too early but I can tell you that the HBO Max content we have

For example, based on percentages and the genres we have for the

been putting on HBO Go has been doing really, really well... it’s great

whole year, we will see what’s missing and make sure we acquire... to fill

storytelling and it adds a lot more diversity and a lot of different genres.

the gaps. Also, for some months, if we have fewer premieres, we will ac-

Every market in Asia is very different, and tastes differ within each country

quire to make sure there’s strong content throughout the year.

as well. Our aim is to really make sure that we have a diverse amount

On top of that, based on viewership patterns, we then curate and

of content, different genres that cater to different moods, for people

create promotable stunts and make sure we push all that content to

who are time poor. Some shows are anthologies that can be watched in

our consumers as well. Viewers in Asia love action films, shows based

single episodes, so that helps give people a lot of options.”

on books, with a great cast and great directors. We will use those stunts to push and repackage shows; the old and the new, the very rewatch-

HBO Go streaming footprint has grown significantly in the last few months,

able classics...”

are there any viewership surprises coming out of the data you’re getting? “No... obviously it’s been a busy year. We are currently in eight countries,

HBO Go carries a fair amount of Asian content, including Korean, Japa-

with six of them offering OTT, so our number of subscribers has gone up

nese and Chinese drama. In the current environment, with all the scram-

significantly and our number of monthly-users has grown 100% year-on-

bling for Asian rights, how difficult is it to secure the titles you want?

year. With kids content being added on to the platform, viewership of

“Obviously there is a lot of competition out there... but we have long


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Japanese singer and actor, Tomohisa Yamashita, in The Head

Most important is not to treat data as a silver bullet for everything... there are many factors that affect the way we curate. But, yes, all in all, data does affect what we decide to produce and what we acquire.”

“I won’t say opportunistic, although to a certain extent it could be seen

Magdalene Ew, Head of Content – Entertainment, WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks, Asia Pacific

to create content.

that way... With The Head, it was good timing, the right place at the right time. The conversation started really early on; I think we spoke about it a year and a half or close to two years in advance. And it took a long time. At the time, we had worked out our timelines and our plan for the year, and there was a void for that particular month for a particular show. “The Head has a great cast; [Japanese idol] Tomo is very popular in Asia and English-language content can travel as well in Asia. On the week The Head launched on HBO Go, the series rated number one. “So we look forward to more co-productions. We’re open to any ideas. Nothing stops us from working with anyone internationally, and we might work with HBO networks in the U.S., Latin America or Europe “With streaming services these days, consumers are used to shows that are not just in English. Most languages travel, as long as you find the right story.

term partnerships. So for Red channel, our partner is Mei Ah. They work closely with us to acquire all the content from around the region. We

“The beauty of The Head is, besides the cast, the story itself. It’s a sixparter, so it’s very easy watching.

haven’t so far seen any challenges or any issues. The brand helps as

“We want to make sure we have a mix of different kinds of original

well. And I think distributors do not want to put all their eggs into one

production or co-production, be it in Chinese or Bahasa or Thai or even

basket. They want to be able to have their content on all the various

remakes, like Miss S, a 30-parter in Chinese. [Miss S is a Chinese adap-

platforms in Asia. So far, we don’t see potential problems.”

tation of Australian drama, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which is currently on Netflix].

What about co-productions, like The Head with The MediaPro Studio. Are these global partnerships and investments part of a structured agenda to be involved in international co-production or is it just opportunistic, as and when they come up?


“Miss S is in 30 episodes, there are 15 cases/15 stories, each solved within two episodes. You can watch it in isolation, two episodes each time. “We want to try different formulas for original production and co-pro so that we can see what works and what doesn’t work.”

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True Beauty

The view

Viu continues to cherry pick the cream of Korean drama, has shattered rights barriers in Japan and – among other initiatives across the region – has turbo-charged production in Indonesia, upsized content alliances in Thailand, set its sights on bigger social TV initiatives, and is on the verge of pushing play on a broad ranging slate of local originals. Virginia Lim, Viu’s chief content officer, talks about what she would like and how she’s going about making it happen.

Virginia Lim, Chief Content Officer, Viu

Regional streaming platform Viu heads into the new year with a firm hold

robust line-up, likely focusing on Viu strongholds in Indonesia, Thailand and

on Korean drama rights, the victor in a fierce rights battle for dramas-of-

Malaysia and a mix of deeply local shows and bigger series with regional

the-moment True Beauty and Mr Queen, a front-runner in regional digital

relevance. These will be the first originals developed under her watch,

rights to Takuya “Kimutaku” Kimura titles out of Japan, and ready to enter

which started in Nov 2019 when she joined Viu after more than a decade

the post-Covid environment with a slate of originals that includes new Thai

at Sony Pictures Television.

drama Voice in the Rain along with the possible return of original scripted adaptation, Pretty Little Liars Indonesia.

While Viu had not released details of its 2021 original production at press time, the new year dawns with the regional streamer retaining its position

Viu’s chief content officer, Virginia Lim, has spent her first year on the

as the only OTT platform in Asia with output deals with all of Korea’s major

job juggling 2020’s unprecedented viewership and demand with unprec-

studios, including KBS, SBS, CJ ENM and JTBC. In addition to True Beauty

edented programming supply challenges, and focusing on imprinting her

and Mr Queen (tvN), Viu in 2020 had first run rights to Dr Foster adaptation

own signature on new product. Any day now, Lim is expected to unveil a

The World of the Married (JTBC), which is the highest-rated Korean cable


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With so much more competition, we all have to look at exclusivity differently. It’s very much about where best to put your dollars and what kind of exclusivity is important to you.” Virginia Lim, Chief Content Officer, Viu

show in history; Lie After Lie, an unexpected hit for cable service Channel


A; sci-fi thriller Alice (SBS); suspense drama Flower of Evil (tvN); The Pent-

Liar; Hong

house (SBS); Tale of the Nine Tailed (tvN); Zombie Detective (KBS); and


Hera, The Goddess of Revenge (TV Chosun).

are the Littles;

Lim also acquired long-term exclusive rights to Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart


Thailand’s My For-

Ryeo, a 2016 SBS/NBC Universal time-travel historical drama she resurfaced

ever Sunshine; and Indo-

because... five years on, when it looked like everyone else had forgotten

nesian original Assalamualaikum

about the one-time hit, she hadn’t and the rights were available. Towards

My Future Husband.

Hera The Goddess of Revenge

the end of November, Scarlet Heart was in the top 10 on Viu in Singapore,

Local relevance is a priority in each market, which means acquisition

Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, right behind new Korean dramas

or co-production partnerships with producers such as GMM, AIS and BEC

The Penthouse and Tale of the Nine Tailed and Criminal Minds: Korea.

World/JKN Global Media in Thailand, Mediacorp in Singapore and Prime-

It’s all part of the mission to continue building a destination for Asian content. The acquisition of Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryo also speaks to a much-

works Studios in Malaysia. Viu Originals continue “to be one of our key and most important initiatives”, Lim adds.

changed rights environment, where the no-holds-barred scrum for first/ ex-

This includes adapting scripted drama from the U.S., Europe and Asia,

clusive rights and elastic windows has been joined by the hunt for library

such as Warner Brothers’ Pretty Little Liars, Black (Korea) and The Bridge

titles with viewer pulling power... and rights availability.

(Europe). In addition to Assalamualaikum My Future Husband out of In-

The three latest new Korean titles – Hera, The Goddess of Revenge (22

donesia, originals developed by Viu include Thai romcom My Bubble Tea

Nov), True Beauty (9 Dec) and Mr. Queen (mid-Dec 2020) – with which Viu

(2020), about a magic love potion gone wrong; Indonesian film Kenapa

closes the year speak to the regional streaming platform’s continued abil-

Harus Bule (2018) about a 29-year-old woman obsessed with marrying a

ity to deliver high-end Korean series in the face of wild competition and

white man; 13-part Indonesian drama Knock Out Girl (2018), about a shy

deep-pocketed rivals such as Netflix, which has a stake in CJ ENM’s Studio

girl who tries to save her father’s boxing club; and A Date with Cha Eun

Dragon; and Chinese streamers iQiyi and Tencent-owned WeTV. Both iQiyi

Woo (2019), which follows Korean idol Cha Eun Woo on his travels around

and WeTV are building out their Southeast Asian offerings with aggressive

Hong Kong.

bids for Korean content, such as Backstreet Rookie (iQiyi) on the back of

The originals decisions will continue to be powered by a mix of script-

strong Chinese drama titles such as The Blooms at Ruyi Pavilion (iQiyi) and

ed format acquisitions and series development, driven by deep data

Twisted Fate of Love (WeTV) as well as Southeast Asian IP such as Yowis

insights available from Viu’s 41.4 million monthly active users (as of end

Ben: The Series (WeTV) and Thai drama Daughters (iQiyi).

Dec 2019). By the end of June this year, Viu had an estimated 2.2 mil-

With all the latest competition, is it viable, practical, or even possible

lion paying subscribers in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore,

for any one streaming platform to try and dominate Korean content

according to analysts Media Partners Asia’s (MPA) AMPD research from


April to June 2020. Viu had 17% share of a total of 107 billion premium

Lim acknowledges heightened demand for Korean content and a more competitive environment, but says that there’s also “a lot of content from

content streaming minutes in Q2 2020, driven by Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Korea to go around”. Viu, she points out, created a position in the market

The percentage split between content from countries and categories

from the get-go as the go-to platform for Korean content “and we’ve built

is constantly shifting. “We don’t really have a weightage,” Lim says, add-

upon that to become the OTT platform in the Asian content space”.

ing: “We look at projects for what they’re worth and that best suit our

Today, the platform is about 70% Korean, with the balance of acquisitions

market”. She describes the approach as “adventurous and open-mind-

split between Japanese, including the first-ever streaming rights to a dozen

ed in populating content” such as, for instance, programmes out of Viu’s

Takuya Kimura titles, Chinese and Thai, among others. The November 2020

Middle East operations. “If we think Arabic content is relevant in multiple

line up included, for instance, Chinese dramas Lost Romance and Oh! My

territories, we will make it available in multiple territories,” she says.


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The primary KPI for originals is performance in its home market. But

reality-variety show Running Man among Viu’s top performers. “Reality

shows also need to be able to travel and audiences are increasingly

still has its space,” she says. Viu’s involvement in a reality show of its own

open to all kinds of content they may not have had access to in the past,

“will be something premium, probably well-known at a regional level. I

Lim says, describing her approach as “game to try out all content across

think that would be something that would be the right direction for us.”

the 16 countries where we operate”.

One of the bigger issues in Southeast Asia is the state of local production

Emil Heradi’s adaptation of Pretty Little Liars, for instance, was pro-

infrastructure and how fast creative industries can – or are – ramping up to

duced for Indonesia in Bahasa Indonesia “with every intention to make

meet regional/global television demand and standards. Or, as is already

it popular across our footprint... and it has proven itself”. Season one was

happening, how film industries can redirect and apply better-developed

among Indonesia’s top shows, and did “really well” in Malaysia, Thailand

skills to television series.

and Singapore. Viu, like the others, does not disclose engagement data.

“Production teams are stepping up,” Lim says. “I’m a believer in the cre-

The exclusivity built into originals balances shifting sands on acquisitions.

ative industry. When there is a demand, there will always be a supply. Now

“Everyone wants exclusivity and it’s still very valuable... the reality is

there is more demand, and the market is more competitive.” Referring to

in any business you need to balance the costs and the returns. With so

Indonesia, she highlights the wealth of talent. “Is production at its optimal

much more competition, we all have to look at exclusivity differently. It is

at this point of time? Maybe not yet. But will it get there? I think definitely. A

very much about where do you best put your dollars and what kinds of

lot of interesting production is going to come out of Indonesia.”

exclusivity is important to you,” Lim says.

Film directors crossing into TV, like Emil Heradi did for Pretty Little Liars,

“The head start that exclusivity gives you is important because viewers

is not happening only in Indonesia. Across the region, higher TV budgets

want to get to a piece of content as soon as it is released. But does one-

are drawing veteran filmmakers attracted by the opportunity to develop

year still matter? In the OTT world, everything is so fast... it goes back to

premium content in a way that wasn’t possible before.

how much you are willing to pay and what makes sense for the business.

Co-productions and strategic partnerships, such as the Viu-AIS partner-

There’s no one-size-fits-all and no straight answer to this question... The

ship on original Thai romcom My Bubble Tea (May 2020), are important

way I look at exclusivity is, if it gives you enough returns and there is a

“not because they allow us to produce multiple shows simultaneously,

good strategic reason to do it, that’s what we will pay for.”

but also because of the distribution channels and the broader 360-de-

There’s no confirmation on unscripted formats yet but these are on the

gree collaboration,” Lim says.

agenda to follow No Sleep No Fomo, a 2019 social TV initiative with a format

Lim is also a firm believer in long-tail content. “There’s definitely life

from The Story Lab. Social TV formats are, Lim says, “interesting because they

left in classics, in libraries,” she says. “Ultimately, people go for good con-

can be developed virtually from different locations” – a Covid-19 friendly

tent at specific destinations, which is why Viu is built as a destination for

benefit. “These are something we are actively looking at,” she says.

premium Asian content. We keep building upon that because that is the

While drama is the driver of the premium TV engine, Lim lists Korean


destination. It is a go-to platform for Asian content.”

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productionfunding productioninterview

Values proposition GroupM’s content investment and rights management company, Motion Content Group, has a second season of MasterChef in production in Singapore, coming on the back of, among other AsiaPacific productions, the premiere of Asim Abbasi’s 10-part Pakistan drama, Churails, on Indian streaming platform Zee5. ContentAsia talks to Motion Content Group’s APAC MD, Steven Murphy about investing in premium content in Asia and Steven Murphy, where the value lies. MD (APAC), Motion Content Group

You’re putting Pakistan on the map in terms of premium content. What’s driving that? “The story starts a few years back. We’d been doing a little business here and there and recognised the hole in the marketplace for Ramadan shows. It’s a premium time for advertisers, and

Is there any conflict

yet there wasn’t any content that was quite working. So we started pro-

when you come up

ducing a series that was live six hours a day, throwing in live satellite with

with a script, like Ch-

performers in some of the countries around the world that also celebrate

urails, that is contro-

Ramadan. It was part travelogue and part Ramadan.

versial and the brands

“Off the back of that, and through our discussion with channels, we




Chef Audra Morrice, MasterChef Singapore S2


recognised a strong demand from the B-level channels. They wanted to

tached to them? “Mo-

do more dramas that would make more of an impact. They were having

tion Content Group is

trouble accessing really good talent, both in front of and behind the cam-

not necessarily brand

era, which we had access to through our larger business and we started

focused at all. In fact, I

making series that way. Off the back of that, it was just a matter of time

would say as GroupM’s

before we built credibility... and then we started hiring people.

content business, what

“It comes down to our very strong team there and the recognition that

we’re after is supporting

it’s not just the everyday drama of making daily soaps and the kinds of

a healthy ecosystem. So

things that typically get produced in Pakistan. It was about how do we

to that end, we’re work-

raise the game for these players and that’s what we were after.”

ing with channels and platforms and producers

Let’s talk Churails, a female-centric drama from writer/director Asim Ab-

to produce, develop... ,

basi about women who join forces in a detective agency to track down

depending on the market

men who cheat, and your broader relationship with Zee5. “Our India

and depending on what’s

team is also speaking to Zee5 about doing some things India-based, but

needed. We’re not a one-

that’s very much in development. On the Pakistan side, we were produc-

size-fits-all business, we don’t

ing shows like Alif and Dhoop Ki Deewar – they were interested in more of

have a one-size-fits-all model

that kind of content and they introduced us to Asim... again that’s down

either, but generally speaking

to my team there who are very switched on.” Another series, Ek Jhoothi

we’re focused on driving pre-

Love Story”, premiered on Zee5 Global on 30 October 2020.

mium content. That could look like we’re supporting free-to-air networks because, let’s face it


contentasia december 2020

Tish Tash Tish and her imaginary friend Tash, creating fun and adventure wherever they are! Brand New Pre-School Series 52x5â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Studio Gale CAKE Cakeentertainment.com

Š Studio Gale / Big Crunch Entertainment / EBS. All rights reserved.

sh, y friend Ta r a in g a im er ture Tish and h and adven n u f g in t a cre they are! r e v e r e h w



My perfect deal in this part of the world is an equal three-way [IP] split between channel, producer and us.” Steven Murphy Managing Director (APAC), Motion Content Group

ested in speaking to channels and supporting their aspirations and I work with production companies to help energise their content and bring it to the right distribution platform.” There’s a big space between MasterChef and Churails. Is there a particuEk Jhoothi Love Story, Zee5 Global

lar genre preference? “Every deal is difficult... I’m focused at delivering the aspirations of the channels or the platforms I’m working with. There are two different ways in which a deal can get made in the simplest way.

in this day and age with adspend drifting away and the cost of premium

“One is for me to find a great piece of content. So in the case of Mas-

content going up, it’s a perfect storm for some of these channels, where

terChef, it didn’t start with the channel, it started with a conversation

they’re just treading water barely.

between myself and Fotini [Paraskakis], who was at that time at Ende-

“So what we do is bring an investment in that can create content and bring some spend back to the channel perhaps.

molShine, about how we can bring MasterChef to Singapore... “In other cases, I have a large funding envelope with a platform or a

“At the same time. I have to look to the future, and especially at the

channel and we’re looking to support their aspirations. It’s a matter of

AVOD channels, the OTT channels that are more or less starting out and

‘can I pitch them some content’, they pick the content, and we mutu-

dipping their toes into the premium content space.

ally agree to make something that’s going to drive either audience or

“This year, for the group, I think about 50% of our spend will be online for the first time ever over all of APAC. So, that’s a significant amount and that largely is going to a couple of players.

incremental revenue for them through sponsorships, if that’s what they’re after. “So it’s not a matter of which one’s easier, it’s a matter of which one

“We would like to see a healthy ecosystem. So diversifying that spend,

is going to get made because the channel or the platform really want

diversifying that investment by supporting those OTT channels to become

to do this. The conversation about MasterChef could have ended in a

stronger with better local content, is important to us.

dead-end if Mediacorp didn’t say yes to our proposition.”

“We’re looking at a lot of things like that and when it works, when you get the mix just right, you get to drive engagement and audience for the

You talk about building an ecosystem, which includes a YouTube series...

channel or the platform.

“Our team in India is working with one of the largest Tamil-language pro-

“We get to create opportunities for our clients, our brands, to come on-

ducers in India. We’ve made some soaps that went on Sun TV, and then

board, not that they necessarily do... But it gives them access. In the case

were carried on their YouTube channel... They are making the first-ever

of MasterChef, at the time Dairy Farm/Cold Storage was one of our clients.

daily soap that will be on YouTube only. So we are funding and co-pro-

They’re not the natural fit for Mediacorp in Singapore. That would more likely

ducing that... it’s changing the game a bit and we’ve got the first season

go to another of their competition. But because they were our client, they

order of 80 episodes.”

got the first look and so they were able to come on as the pantry sponsor, for example. So in that case, you’ve got a very happy client who’s getting ac-

Soaps in India are perennial and YouTube is a huge destination. What

cess in association with a brand like MasterChef. You’ve got a happy chan-

took you so long to marry them? “Finding the right partners, finding the

nel who’s getting content and audience reach and incremental revenue

right deal, part of scaling up our business... India is a very different busi-

flowing through via that sponsorship that we delivered to them, and then of

ness. We started out producing small YouTube series; building credibility

course you got a happy audience. Everybody’s happy.”

in the marketplace is really important to us. Our Telugu talk show Yaari, which went live a couple of years ago... is the number one regional chat

So basically, there’s an element of editorial independence that you

show. It created a bit of a stir. Once you have that one solid hit, every-

wouldn’t necessarily expect from an advertising company? “To be very

body takes notice – or you make sure they take notice – and then you

very clear, we’re not the branded content arm of GroupM. I spend al-

change the conversation into what you really want to do, and that’s

most no time talking to brands or thinking about them. I’m really inter-

about building credibility. It’s about doing the right thing for our business.


contentasia december 2020

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© 2018 DHX - Chip Productions Inc / Chip and Potato Production Limited. All Rights Reserved


I would like to see us growing in the OTT space, with AVOD platforms specifically. Again, that comes down to my thinking around where the future of the business is.” Steven Murphy Managing Director (APAC), Motion Content Group

are my three biggest markets... with Australia a big contender as well.” What are you seeing in Indonesia with all the streaming activity? “Lots of opportunity... We’re doing quite a bit there in the OTT space and I Churails

suspect that we will see those coming to play as well as things move forward. It’s just a matter of time.”

“Through the lockdown, we shot another YouTube series that’s all

Where does Asia Pacific sit on Motion Content Group’s global map in

about cooking with cheese, for instance. I mean, it was just one of those

terms of number of productions, amount of investment? “Since 2013

things that you do because there’s an opportunity.”

we’ve been involved in roughly 200 shows in one form or another. In some cases we’re partially financing things and some cases we’re doing the

On funding, where does Motion Content Group typically fit in the produc-

full finance and some cases we’re producing it. That’s why it’s not always

tion funding process? “Sometimes it starts like that MasterChef conversa-

clear, but it works out to somewhere around 2,500 hours of content. In 2019

tion, where it’s the content idea and we have potential funding. In other

we were involved in about 80 different projects across the region.”

cases, it’s about us having a funding package with a channel already, whereby we have a dedicated amount of investment ready to go and

What would you like to do in Asia that you can’t do or may not be able

we need to find a piece of content. And then sometimes it’s a bit of

to do at the moment, not Covid related? “I don’t think there’s anything

both... We’re not one-size-fits-all and it’s depending on the market.”

that we’ve set our minds to that we haven’t been able to do. I would like to see us growing in the OTT space, with those AVOD platforms specifi-

Do you need to own the IP of what you invest in? “In the ideal circum-

cally. Again, that comes down to my thinking around where the future of

stance, I would love to have an equitable share of an IP. My perfect

this business is. Free-to-air will always be there and it’s still a huge part of

deal in this part of the world is a three-way split equal between chan-

our business... supporting the aspirations of ad-supported OTT is high on

nel, producer and us. We bring the funding, the producers bring in

my list and I would love to do more with them... Part of doing these deals

great ideas and giving them ownership, which a lot of channels don’t

seeds those opportunities for building a premium platform that our clients

do in this part of the world, encourages them to bring their best work.

will want to spend on. So again, if you’re looking at it from a higher level, it’s

So they have a share of ownership. We feel that that’s a net positive to

about creating a healthy ecosystem.”

the whole project.” How do you measure your success as an investor? “I would say that my You said in an ideal world it’s a three-way split. How often does Asia pres-

number one KPI for my bosses is no losses.

ent you with your ideal world? “Every once in a while. It doesn’t happen

“I want to drive incremental revenue opportunities for both us and our

that often. But when it does, it makes me very happy because I believe

partners off the back of any investment we make, so that we’re both

firmly in that... I believe that all the partners should share in the success

seeing value from this investment. But what we want to see is those ad-

of a good format.”

ditional things, whether it’s spinning off live on-ground events, whether it’s driving e-commerce solutions that can suddenly be attached to a

What’s the top investment market for you in Asia Pacific right now? “It’s

reality show, or funding any of those kinds of opportunities, are always in

probably a tie right now between India and Thailand. Thailand just

our minds.

stayed very strong. India was poised to... Covid has delayed that, but in

Mostly we’re really looking to empower our partners to achieve their

my projections for year-end, India is neck and neck with Thailand. We’ve

aspirations... The biggest one being having a healthy ecosystem, but

got a lot going on in both markets. Pakistan is also doing very well. Those

also in terms of those content opportunities that we can create.”


contentasia december 2020




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The Bad Kids, iQiyi

Bold rush

iQiyi is bolder than ever, streaming across the region with its own high-end Chinese productions, expensive rights acquisitions and plans to ramp up local originals. iQiyi SVP, Chen Xiao, speaks about the what, how and why of redefining content for a new entertainment universe. Chinese streamer iQiyi has just wrapped filming its first Southeast Asia original drama – The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang, an adaptation Chen Xiao, Senior Vice President, iQiyi

of an iQiyi original that streamed in China in 2014. Cameras rolled in Singapore in August, a few weeks after the platform unveiled its coming slate of 40 original dramas and 20 variety titles in China, and talked about redefining content for a new universe. It’s all part of a grand growth plan that, among other things, has

units of a user and carefully understand the subtle difference between

drawn attention for the platform’s ability to make bold content

different user groups. On this basis, we are innovating, including new

decisions, made iQiyi a regular in the top three entertainment apps

story themes, the latest social trends and cultivating new ideas. To

in Apple’s app store in Singapore, and put the streamer on the priority

make new content, we should not only tell a different story but tell it in

call-list of anyone with a right to sell.

a brand new way,” says iQiyi’s senior vice president, Chen Xiao.

iQiyi offers a mix of Asian drama, variety, iQiyi originals such as The Bad

That journey in Southeast Asia begins with The Ferryman: Legends of

Kids from China, Youth With You in English and Thai plus library titles like

Nanyang, based on iQiyi’s Mandarin original, Soul Ferry, a supernatural

Singapore’s The Little Nyonya, and Korean drama such as Backstreet

drama about a young man who can communicate with spirits. The

Rookie and Hotel De Luna.

Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang portrays the history of Singapore and

What does iQiyi mean by redefining content? “Redefining new content means we take deep insight into the core of psychological


Malaysia during World War II. The premiere date had not been disclosed at press time.

contentasia december 2020

Chen says Soul Ferry series is one of iQiyi’s most successful original series. “And we want to enlarge its influence. We think the story is quite suitable for overseas audiences, especially in Southeast Asia, and we’ve paid attention to the preferences of audiences in the region. For

December), but also adding current titles such as tvN’s Tale of the Nine Tailed and Memorist, and JTBC’s 18 Again and More Than Friends. Chen says exclusive rights “help us get more subscription, which is key to our business model. It’s the same for different streaming platforms”.

example, we chose Singapore actor, Lawrence Wong, to play the lead

Non-exclusive content, meanwhile, “helps us get a good balance

character, and we are shooting in Singapore and Malaysia. The story

between content coverage and cost efficiency. 100% exclusivity is not

line has also been adapted to make it more relevant to local viewers.”

what our consumer audience needs. We will keep developing iQiyi

The series is only the beginning of iQiyi’s bigger ambitions for original

originals to strengthen our content brand and to make it different from

production in Asia, putting the streamer in play against global and local rivals in Southeast Asia’s content gold rush.

other platforms.” Much of iQiyi’s premium content is offered for free, with advertising,

“iQiyi’s original content has proven very successful in Chinese markets

with a VIP premium layer that carries benefits like earlier access and no

and we will leverage the best practice to further cooperation with local

advertising. “In general, the business pattern of free and VIP meet dif-

talent or companies. Our dream is to produce the best Asian content

ferent needs of our users, Chen says. VIP users are able to access more

for the world with high-quality production levels and very rich visual and

up-to-date content with sometimes better audio and visual effects. In

audio experience and more trendy cultural features expressing the lives

addition, they have the opportunity to participate in offline events,”

and feelings of modern audiences,” Chen says.

Chen says, adding: “Our business pattern provides users with diverse

“We are focused on markets more open to new content, especially Chinese content to begin with... but we are trying to make content that doesn’t focus on specific countries or cultures because we want to make worldwide content in future,” he adds. iQiyi has its eyes wide open for co-productions opportunities. “We’re more than happy to work with local content partners who bring us good ideas or high level production capacities,” Chen says.

choices so that everyone can enjoy our services. iQiyi’s business model is to monetise one IP in multiple ways.” Running alongside content development strategies are iQiyi’s tech ambitions. “iQiyi’s vision is to become a technology-based entertainment giant,” Chen says. “We are constantly applying AI technology to the whole process of content creation and operation, such as intelligent production, intelli-

Meanwhile, the platform has a seat at the table of every high-end

gent shooting, intelligent editing and intelligent recommendation for us-

regional acquisition discussion, pulling ahead on exclusive rights for

ers. We hope that through the application of technology, the creation

shows like SBS’s Korean series, Backstreet Rookie, distributed globally (ex-

will become smarter, and creators can spend more energy on discover-

Korea) by A+E Networks and JTBC’s Hush (ex-China/Korea, premieres 11

ing and realising great ideas, save their time and do the right thing.”

contentasia december 2020


Dividing Line contentstreaming

Line Thailand’s chief business officer, Kanop Supamanop, believes the way forward involves clear business objectives applied to every piece of content created or acquired, greater collaboration on various fronts, optimising relationships with smaller producers, and his belief that successful streaming platforms will find their own sweet spots.


In mid-2020, Thailand’s Line sold eight of its original drama series to Netflix

to keep pushing and keep

– including Great Men Academy, Abandoned and Together With Me. For

asking ourselves, ‘why do

Line, the Netflix deal reinforced the quality of its Thai production, a par-

we need these originals? It’s

ticular point of pride. Three months later, in October, the Bangkok-based

not just about wanting it, but

operation announced an alliance with Taiwan’s global LGBTQ streaming

also why. It is very important, es-

service GagaOOLala, putting a dozen GagaOOLala titles on Line TV in

pecially with the more competitive

Thailand along with GagaOOLala’s first Thai-Taiwan boy love (BL) original,

situation, especially in the next year.”

Call It What You Want, directed by Aam Anusorn Soisa-ngim (2 Moons 2, Present Still Perfect). The latest deals are something of a quantum leap and speak to a

Kanop Supamanop,

Has your content strategy changed as a re- Chief Content Business Officer, Line Company Thailand sult of all the new competition in Thailand? “In

bigger, broader, collaborative mindset with which Line Thailand enters

terms of the competition, we need to keep

the new year. The company’s chief content business officer, Kanop Su-

an eye on our friends and we need to make sure that what we’re going

pamanop, brings a spirit of collaboration to the streaming table because,

to offer to our audience is interesting, appealing and distinct enough.

he says, audiences are different and the regional exposure is welcome.

We still focus on Thai content, of course, because we position ourselves

In a wide-ranging interview, he also spoke about clearly defined busi-

as – and also believe and perceive from the market – that we are king

ness objectives; content decisions based not only on the ‘what’ but on

of Thai content. Overall, Thai content is still majority consumed by Thais.

the ‘why’; and the effective use of ever-expanding data-based insights.

When we talk about Thai content, we have room on our platform for all producers – whether they are big producers or not – if their content

Line TV is a pioneer of original production for streaming platforms in Thai-

serves and answers our business objectives. The way we work is to em-

land and remains in the lead with 78 originals in six years. What’s your ap-

power and trust producers to work on their own, to make their content

proach to original production and how has this evolved? “The objective

based on their own taste and style. That’s the key advantage of working

of the original content is to differentiate us from the others and create

with us. That’s why we have a variety of content; we have different tones

something interesting for our audience... and we need to serve exact

and tastes of content to serve our audiences.”

business and/or marketing objectives. Over time, we have learned which genres fit what kind of audience. So in our sixth year, we have quite a

How important is it for you to distribute Line content outside of Thailand?

good bible... maybe it’s not perfect, but at least we know which content

“Apart from the revenue, we’ll talk about the business ambitions of Line

serves which objectives. For this year through to next year, we still need

TV. We say clearly that we would like to be the content digitalisation


contentasia december 2020


What creates a better experience for our audience is when we have communities talking together.” Kanop Supamanop Chief Content Business Officer, Line Company Thailand

engine for Thais. Our objective is to help contribute to the Thai entertainment industry. When we have good digital content, and we believe that the quality is superior not just for Thai audiences, but that it also has high potential in

Genre: Docu-Series Duration: 7 X 60’


the global market. We need to make our ambition tangible by partnering with those who can help serve that ambition. We believe working with Netflix helps support our content producers, our Thai entertainment industry. It helps to create exposure of quality Thai content to the overseas market. We also need to build our footprint in other countries. That helps us benefit in terms of opening doors to any opportunities with potential partners in the future. And they might want to push their content into Line TV for Thai audiences as well. It benefits the audience, the industry, and us as well. That’s for the overseas market. For the Thai market, we are the number one professional OTT in Thailand, but we need to admit that there are still some segments of audiences that we cannot tap into yet. So when we push our content onto

Genre: Crime Duration: 257 X 60’

other platforms where we believe there is potential, we will eventually acquire or gain those audiences into Line TV. When we talk about Line TV original content, instead of just talking about the high quality and promoting it as worth watching, we increase the opportunity for our target audience to watch it. We expect the content to prove itself. Eventually, they will be our audience as well”. Eight of your 78 originals went to Netflix. What about those particular eight – Instinct, Abandoned, Great Men Academy, The Collector, Together With Me, Together With Me: The Next Chapter, Social Syndrome and The Deadline – has particular international appeal? “First of all, the quality is not only Thai level, but Asian level, or even global. We believe, and it is proven, that the quality is superior. We believe those titles could lead global audiences to perceive that Thai content is better than they think.

Genre: Factual Duration: 150 X 60’ Format also Available

Not all of the eight series are produced by top producers. Some of them are produced by the small and medium ones. We need to leverage the exposure of this content and also leverage our small and medium partners as well. We selected the first phase of content based on quality, the difference in terms of tones and tastes of the content and the variety of the content partners. With all of these we can test together which kinds of genres are going to be well adopted by the global audience. So we can move on to the next phase more successfully.” Line TV has been brave in pushing LGBTQ content, particularly with Boy Love (BL). What is your thinking in taking the lead in this way? “We started with an open mindset not limited by mass content, but also we are open to many genres and many content partners. It has performed well since a couple of years ago. Not because of the content, but also the platform

Genre: Competition Duration: 10 X 60’  Format also Available

and ecosystem that we support. When we talk about BL content, we start with how to build communities for those audiences. When we study

contentasia december 2020

w w w. g r b t v . c o m



s a l e s @ g r b t v. c o m


We still need to keep pushing and keep asking ourselves, ‘Why do we need these originals? It’s not just about wanting it, but also why. It is very important, especially with the more competitive situation, especially in the next year.” Kanop Supamanop Chief Content Business Officer, Line Company Thailand

ful about advertising on BL content. But this year, there’s huge demand from clients and agencies, so it proves people are adopting to this kind of content.” Thailand has always been a creative and a content production hub. Streaming has placed a much higher demand on that. Is the domestic production industry able to cope with this demand. If not, what would you like to see? “Demand for Thai content exceeds supply. But I believe the market will eventually optimise itself in a few ways. The first is collaborations between OTT platforms. We have started to see OTT platforms that do not Abandoned Thailand

have duplicate audience segments co-invest in original content, share or sub-license content. This helps to relieve the shortage on the supply side, and also helps each OTT to minimise costs while still taking maximum ad-

our audiences, look at what content is popular and what creates a bet-

vantage of monetisation opportunities. We will see this more and more in

ter experience for our audience is when we have communities talking

the future.

together. When we talk about the communities, Line’s ecosystem can

Secondly, I think it is best for the industry to make bigger and bigger

support them very well by enabling them to talk together, share via chat-

room for small and medium content producers. We are starting to see

ting, or even via the Line open chat to talk into our ecosystem. In previous

many OTTs, including Line TV, not only focus on major producers, but work-

years, we focused on the mobile screen. That served us well during that

ing with small and medium producers as well. When we have clear busi-

time because BL content, I would say, is not comfortable for everyone to

ness objectives, there may be no need for the big producers; small and

watch on the big screen. Mobile works well for the user preference, and

medium producers can serve that well. This will help everyone in the indus-

that’s why BL content performs well on OTT like us. And then there’s the

try to enjoy [the current situation.”

support of the ecosystem that helps them to enjoy content together with similar audiences. All those things help us drive our position in Thai society.

What do you see as the biggest content challenges? “The first is higher

“When we talk about BL content becoming mainstream, we need to

and higher competition. This not only impacts the cost of production but

define mainstream. I’m not talking about mass or that everyone watches,

also the supply... We optimise ourselves with more collaborations and uti-

but about bigger and bigger audience in the specific segment. For exam-

lise resources and supply in the market as much as possible.

ple, the major audience for BL content is female aged 20 to 30-something.

“When we talk about higher demand for Thai content, the first thing we

We are seeing bigger and bigger numbers of active users in this segment

need to talk about is price inflation on acquiring content. This also leads

for BL content.

to a bigger opportunity for small and medium producers.

“During the Covid lockdown, we saw a lot of growth in other segments

“All OTTs will find their sweet spot, which kinds of genre, which kinds of

as well. For example, there was a lot of growth in consumption among

content categories they want to stand for, including Line TV. Eventually

females over 55 years old. It helped prove that BL content is appealing

not everyone will compete in the same domain. We will all shift away

to not only a niche segment, but a bigger and bigger audience. We see

from each other and find our own standpoints.

that from the stats of active users.

“We have strong belief in Thai content, and get a good perception

“Also with the trend in social media, in mainstream news, and in TV rat-

from the market. But we are not limited to that. We also talk to many part-

ings. Some BL content also aired on TV and performed well. We see that

ners, explore many genres, for example animation, which could serve

some major TV channels starting to produce BL content. This is evidence

our business objective and also help provide users with a diverse range

of BL content’s growing popularity.

of content. Ultimately, everyone will find their own standpoint... stand for

“Most important for us is monetisation. Advertisers used to be doubt46

something.” contentasia december 2020


9 Story Media Group

Donkey Hodie

Bad Nature

Dr. Panda

23 Fraser Ave,

New Series!

New Series!

Season 2 In Production!

Toronto, ON M6K 1Y7

Genre: Puppet, Comedy,

Genre: Live Action, Comedy,

Genre: 3D Animation, Kids/


Kids/Children 3-5 years old

Kids/Children 6-11 years old

Children 3-6 years old

Episodes/Length: 80x11 mins

Episodes/Length: 25x5 mins

Episodes/Length: 39x7 mins

Who’s who...

Every episode is set in the land

Marv the Mandrill, Gloria the

Welcome to the wonderful

Federico Vargas

of Someplace Else, where

Puma and their roving animal

world of Panda City, where

VP, Distribution

Donkey Hodie and her pals

reporters answer weird ques-

every day Dr. Panda tries out

E: federico.vargas@9story.com

empower preschoolers to

tions about the amazingly

a new job working together

Joss Duffield

dream big and overcome

revolting and delightfully dis-

with his friends. A mix-up at

VP Distribution

obstacles, to work hard and

gusting world of animals you

the post office? A chicken

E: joss.duffield@9story.com

persevere, to be resourceful

never knew existed.

stuck in a tree? Carrots

Federico Vargas

and discover they can solve

mysteriously disappearing?

programs on their own - and

No problem! With a dash of

to laugh themselves silly along

creativity and a good deal of

the way.

teamwork, Dr. Panda always saves the day!

Joss Duffield

About Gaumont Formed


in Germany and Arsène Lupin, di-

Gaumont is the first film compa-




rected by Louis Leterrier and star-

ny in the world, celebrating 125

ring Omar Sy in France.

years of history and innovation.

For Amazon Prime Video US, Do

With offices in Paris, Los Angeles,

Re & Mi with Kristen Bell, El Presi-

London, and Berlin, Gaumont re-

dente co-created by Armando Bo


mains an industry leader, produc-

and Pablo Larraín in Latin Ameri-

56 Berwick Street

ing and distributing high-quality TV

ca and the action thriller Opera-

programming and films.

Bionic Max

London, W1F 8SW

tions Totems in France.

2D Animation

Specializing in producing lo-

For Apple TV+ based on the Zen

T: +44 (0) 203 405 9193

cal stories with global appeal,

Shorts book series of Jon. J. Muth,



Gaumont’s current slate includes


Episodes/Length: 52x11 mins

United Kingdom

Genre: Kids 6-11, Buddy

talent-driven, diverse, and distinc-

Gaumont co-produces and dis-

Who’s who...

Max, a malfunctioning bionic

tive titles across multiple languag-

tributes around ten films a year in

guinea pig and his goldfish

Karen Vermeulen

es for the world’s leading global

theaters. The film library encom-

buddy, JC, escape from their

SVP Creative Executive,

streaming platforms and chan-

passes over 1400 titles from pres-

laboratory into the busting

Animation & Family, Europe


tigious directors such as Louis Mal-

streets of Woodchuck Woods.


le, Jean-Luc Godard, and more

But adapting to the urban jun-

ries Narcos in its 6th season, F is for

recently, Toledano and Nakache

gle s no small feat for our pair

Family in its 5th season, High in the

for The Intouchables, the highest-

of intrepid misfits, who try to fit

Clouds, the animated feature de-

grossing French-language mov-

in with the local wildlife while

veloped together with Paul Mc-

ie to date with over $450 million in

living madcap and clumsy ad-

Cartney, Samurai Rabbit: The Usa-

revenue to date.



Karen Vermeulen




gi Chronicles based on the comic books by Stan Sakai, The Barbar-

Get on board this hilarious comedy!

ians, the period epic drama set

contentasia december 2020



Rise & shine Thai drama had a record year across Asia, thanks in no small part of the efforts of Bangkok-based JKN Global Media. Chief executive, Anne Jakrajutatip, talks about cross-border content tastes, developing an original production ecosystem, the growth of OTT and the impact of streaming platforms on the syndication business, and her firm belief in the ongoing strength of free TV.

At the end of September this year,



company, JKN Global Media, reported a 30% increase in net profit for the first nine months of the year, driven in part by massive increases in advertising revenue at JKN’s two domestic channels – JKN Dramax and JKN-CNBC/JKN News – as well as on the co-branded jkncnbc.com online platform. Export sales – predominantly drama series from BEC World/Channel 3 – were up 12.8% to THB453 million/US$15 million. At about the same time, the company shifted from Thailand’s Market for Alternative Investment (MAI), where it listed in November 2018 with a paid-up capital of THB270 million/US$9 million, to the main board of Thailand’s Stock Exchange (SET). ContentAsia spoke to her about Thai drama, the direction in which she’s taking the company, her 10+ million Facebook followers and the value of social media. You’ve had a year of enormous success distributing Thai drama across Southeast Asia and other countries in Asia. What have you found in expanding this footprint? And where is the growth for you in the Thai drama distribution business? We have had enormous success in the past two years with BEC/Channel 3 content in Asia, including Korea and the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. Our latest focus is Latin America and South

Anne Jakrajutatip, CEO, JKN Global Media PLC, Thailand


contentasia december 2020


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Who’s who... Ingrid Akkerman SVP Licensing, Head of Licensing South East Asia E: ingrid.akkerman@itv.com Ayesha Surty SVP Licensing Asia E: ayesha.surty@itv.com

Don’t Rock The Boat

The Voice All Stars


Genre: Entertainment

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Master Moley


Genre: CGI animation

Genre: CGI animation

Genre: Stop motion animation

targeting 2-6 year olds

targeting 4-8-year olds

aimed at 3-7 year olds

Episodes/Length: 170x10 mins

The Misadventures of Master

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plus 7x30 mins Season 6 available now! Wilson, Koko and Brewster are young trainees learning to ride the rails through exciting adventures of

Moley 52x11 mins Master Moley by Royal lnvitation 1x30 mins special) Master Moley is based upon an original idea the creator conceived as an imaginative bedtime story for his children. It

Clangers centres around a family unit of loveable, pink mouse-like creatures who live on their Little Blue Planet. They are kind, welcoming,

teamwork, friendship and

follows adventurous mole,

warm and generous, as well

fun in the traintastic world of

Master Moley, who lives deep

as being inclusive and quirky,


in a burrow under Windsor

which often results in comedy

Castle in the bustling city of

from the situations they find

MoleTown, where he is the

themselves in. As problem

keeper of a magical book

solvers, they usually discover

which has the power to bring

the help of others is the solu-

peace between humans and moles.

contentasia december 2020

BAFTA award winning

tion. The communicate with distinctive whistles.



World of Himmapan

Basically, we should be focusing on freeto-air, with OTT as something extra. Streaming is a difficult business... Right now, free-toair is my main business.” Anne Jakrajutatip CEO, JKN Global Media PLC, Thailand

yet. Basically, we should be focusing on free-to-air, with OTT as something extra. Streaming is a difficult business... Right now, free-to-air is my main business.” You primarily distribute drama from Channel 3, which is one of the top free-TV broadcast channels in Thailand. How come you chose Channel 3 rather than say Channel 7 or Channel 8, which are the other top three TV channels? “They are all good. Channel 3 or BEC is more International. The actors have millions of social media followers... a huge fanbase around the region. Content has to be universal, not just for Thai audiences. Channel 3 has all the criterias to travel. Their stories never let me down...”

Africa; those are the two regions that we are going to penetrate progressively.

What kinds of content and influences are you seeing among Thai audiences these days? “Local taste, always local taste. And social me-

Has the rise of other streaming platforms made a difference to your

dia influence... You really need to engage with your audience. Your

licensing and syndication business in Thailand or around the world?

fans will be fans of your product. That’s very important.”

“I’m so excited to see the growth of OTT business around the world, not just in Asia. But in Asia itself, I can see OTT fluorishing but it’s not

You recently appeared on Shark Tank Thailand and bought a number

substantial yet in terms of profit. I think a lot of the platforms are still

of companies, which you will feature in some of your local productions

losing money.

for JKN. So essentially, you’re building an ecosystem... “I’m building

Free-to-air is the ultimate solution at the moment. Basically OTT will

the ecosystem, correct... For example, one of the companies I bought

do well when we promote on free-to-air. So you need to have free-to-

is a local tour company that we will work with for our new original

air... we have to focus on the main business first and then OTT. We have

production, Love Travels, which is a travelogue featuring a couple –

a few OTT clients that buy Thai drama, but it’s not a substantial business

probably celebrities – exploring different places.”


contentasia december 2020

Love Love You

You talked about The Prince of Ayodhya last year, a historical drama with a strong Thai theme. Where are you with that local production? “It has been done in terms of the development and the pre-production right now is almost 80% completed. We planned to do the whole production in India, but we had to pause because of Covid-19. Hopefully we can go into production in 2021.” You are a strong supporter of LGBTQ programming. What do you think the appetite for the genre is, in Thailand and across the region? “It’s still a niche market but it’s growing and we are including more titles. We had Khejdi last year, starring Ashish Sharma, and this year we have Love Love You, produced by Suchart Rochanakee and directed by Piawat Chaithiangthum. So there’s a gay title, a middlesex title and we will have transgender titles because I’m a trans woman... Boy Love (BL) is a new trend, even among people who are straight.” How important is social media to your business? “The more fans that you build, the more influence that you have. So that would be good for your business as well.” What’s your plan with your show, the Anne Show? “We have shifted it to social media, so it’s actually season one. The show used to air on TV, but I’m not allowed to say whatever I like on TV. I’m the woman without censorship, anyway! On Facebook, I get between 300,000 and a million viewers, and I can talk about whatever I want.”


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A Mother’s Guilt



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accident on a rainy night that

child and the love that is

takes to solve the most

changes their lives forever.

tested by this guilt.

puzzling cases in his own way.

contentasia december 2020



A Daughters tale Too dark for broadcast TV, Daughters is seeing the light of day courtesy of a streaming environment and a platform determined to tell a different type of story. Five years after delivering her show, director Mangmoom Rattakul talks about the resurrection of a series that not only consumed her for years, but that she had given up on seeing aired. When iQiyi’s Thai drama acquisition, Mangmoom Rattakul’s Daughters,

The four girls are played by Chicha “Kitty” Amatayakul (Girl from No-

premieres on 4 Dec with six language options, the Chinese streamer es-

where), Sornnarin “Ploy” Bunphong (The Maid), Chayanit “Pat| Chan-

calates the fight for content that distinguishes streaming from broadcast,

sangawej (The Stranded) and Praewpannarai “Praew” Sansanapitaya-

and celebrates the triumph of deep connection with a domestic cre-

korn. Over the past five years, Amatayakul and Bunphong have built up

ative industry that might, otherwise, have continued to bury this story.

significant social media fan bases. This means the series debuts with a

iQiyi’s pick up also creates a happy ending for a production team

more engaged audience than it might have had five years ago.

whose members poured everything they had into the 24-episode TV se-

iQiyi’s Tongrob says the series “left a very deep impression on me with

ries and were eventually forced to accept that it might languish unseen

its still-relevant themes and a heart-wrenching plot”. He talks of Daugh-

forever as a programme too raw for broadcast TV.

ters as more than a story of drugs and vice, and describes the series as

The series was originally commissioned by digital terrestrial broadcast

exploring “the delicate relationships we all have as human beings”.

station PPTV, and acquired for iQiyi by former PPTV staffer and now iQiyi

Five years ago, he adds, “there weren’t streaming platforms that

International’s acquisition director for Thailand, Parnsuk “Poppy” Tongrob.

would take local shows to the international stage... So once I was at iQiyi,

Daughters is an intense female-centric story about four girls mired in

I didn’t hesitate to get the conversation started”.

family problems and relying on each other to help deal with their trau-

Rattakul says she was shocked at the news that iQiyi had picked up

ma. To escape, they create a drug-fuelled existence and embark on a

rights for the series. “I didn’t think it would be aired at all. We gave up on

path from which there may be no turning back. The TV series is based

it. We were obsessing about it for two years, and then we decided to let

on the 1994 film, Daughter, by Chatrichalerm Yukol, who is Mangmoom

it go,” she says.

Rattakul’s father. 52

contentasia december 2020

Mangmoom Rattakul (left), Daughters (above)

Daughters will premiere on iQiyi as she delivered it five years ago, with

duction process sometimes missing in Thai/Southeast Asian drama, and

the addition of language customisation in English, Chinese, Korean, Viet-

authentic realistic backdrops no matter how uncomfortable they may

namese and Spanish.

have been.

At the time, Rattakul was not unaware that the story could delve into dark and uncomfortable places, and initially explored the option of

The most difficult angle of the series is that it had to be a real story. “I couldn’t change or make something that’s out of character,” she says.

“something more easy to watch” with the station. “But they wanted it to

All through the challenges of Daughters, she’s never been tempted by

be real,” she says. “So that’s what I did”. She acknowledges the difficult

lighter fare – for example, the romcoms or fantasy that are so popular

line the series walks. “If it had been shown in Thailand then, every scene

in Thailand – that might speak to her family background as part of Thai-

would have had to be censored,” she says.

land’s extended Royal family. “That’s not my style,” she says.

Rattakul, who studied television and film at Bond University in Australia,

Rattakul says her series cannot be compared to her father’s film. “I

had never made anything like it before. “Of all my dad’s films, this is the

have my own point of view. He has his own point of view, so you can’t

one I like the most. When he was making it, I was old enough to under-

compare the two.”

stand that people’s lives are different... It’s not just all ponies and rainbows, like I thought before. It helped me to grow and understand,” she says.

Her father, who she said she did not approach for advice on the TV series, was less concerned about her choice of projects than about her

“The problems in the 1990s is still here. Nothing has changed. We still

choice of career, she says. “He said nothing about the series, but he al-

have family problems, we still have drug problems, girls still get raped.

ways asked if I was sure I wanted to make films. He says it’s real labour

The problems are exactly the same. Nothing has been fixed. The issues

and consumes you 24 hours, but I had my mind set”.

are as relevant today as when my father made his film,” she adds.

He may have been right. After months of little rest and no sleep dur-

Adapting the film into a TV series two decades later was her idea, and

ing Daughters production – “I would go to the emergency room, get an

returning to the film’s familiar story and themes she had known for more

injection, go back onto set” – she fell ill. On weekends, when there was

than two decades gave her insights she wouldn’t otherwise have had.

no filming, she was in the edit suite. “My body couldn’t take it anymore,”

Perhaps because of this, she insisted on in-depth research, extensive workshops to immerse her young cast in an unfamiliar world, a pre-pro-

contentasia december 2020

she says. “I hope it won’t be forever, but I’ve been advised to recover my health before I make anything else”. 53


Sun shines

Thai director, Chudapha Chantakett, dialed down the comedy and upped the conflict in her latest prime time series, My Forever Sunshine, where the leads are as pretty as ever but character development pushes the boundaries and heroes may not be very heroic. “This makes the show different and challenging for us,” she told ContentAsia. New Thai prime-time drama, My Forever Sunshine, flies the flag for the-

hoping at the same time that local “audiences will be open-minded”.

high “cute” quotient that Thai content is known and loved for, at the

The series comes at a turning point for domestic drama in Thailand,

same time as pushing the boundaries of character development and

where streaming platforms are changing the fabric of storytelling, and

behaviour that domestic audiences usually expect from their heroes

abroad, where Thai drama is enjoying unprecedented exposure.

and heroines.

My Forever Sunshine is part of a Q3 prime-time slate that also includes

The 19x85-mins series premiered on 19 November 2020 on BEC World’s

Deceitful Love, a romantic drama that reunites Love Destiny stars Pope

free-TV service Channel 3 and on streaming platform Ch3+, with a si-

Thanavat and Bella Ranee in a romantic tale of a woman, Pitcha, who

multaneous release on Tencent-owned WeTV in Thailand and a release

falls in love with her divorce lawyer Ramin. Deceitful Love premiered on

the following day on regional streaming platform Viu in Singapore, Ma-

5 October on Channel 3 in Thailand, simulcast across five platforms (in-

laysia and Indonesia, and on WeTV outside Thailand. The show, pro-

cluding Tencent Video, iQiyi and Youku) in eight countries.

duced by Sonix Boom 2013 (Thong Ek: The Herbal Master) and Screen Shot, runs to 15 December. My Forever Sunshine stars Mark Prin (My Husband in Law), winner of the Best Male Lead in this year’s ContentAsia Awards, as Arthit, the son

Chantakett says international audiences were a consideration in crafting My Forever Sunshine, where the lead characters are not “100% perfect... and “may not be very heroic”. This, she adds, “makes this show different and challenging for us”.

of a modest farming family rescued from debt by a wealthy friend.

She expects audiences to polarise around the

In return, Arthit’s father agrees (against the wishes of his wife) to an

two leads’ early character traits and conflict,

engagement with the friend’s bratty daughter, Paeng, played by Su-

before transitioning to their older, more mature,

passara “Kao” Thanachat. Arthit has zero romantic interest in the girl,

selves. “I want the transition to feel natural

whom he has known since childhood, and when she causes a serious accident, he ends up despising her. The romance is based on Thai novel Trab Fah Mee Tawan (ตราบฟ้ามีตะวัน) by Aunhaphumpokkati (อุณหภูมิปกติ). expect

that they both truly grew,” she says. “There are a lot of things



Typical audiences for Thai dramas

enough for the audience to believe



lead to be elegant and the

relate she

can to,” adds,


male lead to be heroic, says actress-turned-producer/director,



who also directed Thai hit, Thong Ek: The Herbal Master – one of the country’s top IP exports so far. “My Forever Sunshine may subvert audience


tations. I wanted to create something


ent,” she adds,

Mark Prin and Supassara “Kao” Thanachat in My Forever Sunshine


contentasia december 2020

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Every human makes mistakes throughout their lives, and the characters in this story are no different. The message I want to show is that every mistake, large or small, can be taken as a lesson as to not repeat past mistakes.” Chudapha Chantakett, Director, Sonix Boom Thailand

My Forever Sunshine, BEC World/Sonix Boom/Screen Shot Thailand

the two lead characters as “just ordinary teenagers with emotions such as love, greed, anger and desire like everyone else. They can make a mistake and be judged by society,” she adds.

them in turn,” she says. A romance veteran, Chantakett’s past shows include Hidden Love, starring Nadech and Taew Natapohn; Game of Affection (2018), with

Along the way, a universal truth is revealed: “Every human makes

James Jirayu and Taew Natapohn; and Two Spirits’ Love, starring Ma-

mistakes throughout their lives, and the characters in this story are no

rio Maurer and Mint Chalida; as well as Thong Ek. She says the biggest

different. The message I want to show is that every mistake, large or

difference between her past works and My Forever Sunshine is the

small, can be taken as a lesson as to not repeat past mistakes,” Chan-

scale of the conflict.

takett says.

“This show is also a romance, but I am someone who likes variety

In Paeng, the trait she focused on surfacing initially was her selfish-

in my work. I get easily bored... so I like to innovate to keep myself

ness. “I think this trait may polarise the audience; younger generations

refreshed. The conflict between the hero and heroine in my old shows

may take her side while older generations may disagree with her ac-

may not go beyond small misunderstandings or little conflicts.

tions,” she says. In Arthit, “I wanted to show his caring side and wanted him to feel more natural than his counterpart in the novel”.

“My Forever Sunshine is different in that initially the relationship between the hero and heroine is closer to family, but the hero becomes

The challenge, says co-producer Piya Sawetpikul, was to make

resentful towards the heroine after she takes advantage of him in a

viewers care about a not-very-likeable Paeng. “The relationship be-

twisted display of her love. Over time, the heroine develops feelings

tween Arthit and Paeng is not good from the start,” he says. “They

for the hero but expresses it in a twisted way, taking advantage of him

don’t like each other. Paeng is not a nice lady... It’s our challenge to

and causing our hero to resent her. The conflict in this story is so strong

capture the viewers’ attention and make them fall in love with the

that some may wonder if the two can truly love each other again,”

characters,” he says.

she says.

My Forever Sunshine retains a strong Thai character. “Thai people are kind, understanding and forgiving. This story incorporates this Thai

My Forever Sunshine is about 25% comedy, but the comic elements are not the focus of the story.

attitude through the farm community, which is merry and easy-going.

“The comedy is used to prevent the mood from becoming too heavy

Also, the Thai culture of respecting your elders no matter if they are

or dramatic. I would say this series is 20% to 30% comedy. That’s less than

right or wrong is present in this story. This concept polarises the young-

my old titles, such as Thong Ek,” she says.

er and older generation. Because of this, some characters do not like

Most of the series was shot before or in the very early days of Co-

it when others are rude, straightforward, or harsh towards them, which

vid-19 restrictions. Chantakett says she sped up production as news of

may result in quarrels”.

the virus started spreading, and some of the last scenes and locations

The conflict between the two lead characters is Chantakett’s favourite element. “One loves the wrong way and the other despises


were adjusted to accommodate lock-downs and curfews in Thailand. The impact on the outcome, she says, was insignificant.

contentasia december 2020

See you in May, 2021!

See you in May, 2021! BCM 2021

Contact information: Jungwon Lee E: ljw@ibcm.tv T: 82 2 786 4701 www.ibcm.tv


©2020 Sony Pictures Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

Leonardo A compelling look at one of the most restlessly brilliant men of all time, Leonardo gets inside the mind of the genius, showing the drama behind his art and exploring a tantalising murder-mystery. Length: 8x60 mins Sony Pictures Television 2/F, 14 Taikoo Wan Road, Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong T: +852 2913 3788

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Viewpoint This gripping drama follows a tense police surveillance investigation into a tight knit English community and explores whether it is ever possible to observe the lives of others with true objectivity and zero effect. Surveillance detective, DC Martin King, sets up his observation post in the home of single mum and secret voyeur, Zoe Sterling. Zoe’s windows command a panoramic view of Westbury Square, and more importantly provide a direct sightline into the home of a missing primary school teacher; a home she shares with boyfriend and prime suspect in her disappearance. Length: 5x60 mins Banijay Rights 12th Floor, Hallmark Business Plaza, Sant Dnyaneshwar Marg, Near Gurunanak Hospital, Bandra East Mumbai, 400051 Maharashtra, India (Mumbai); Manulife Tower, 8 Cross Street, #28-01, Singapore 048424 (Singapore) T: +91 224 2164 054 (Mumbai); T: +65 6850 7647 (Singapore)

Rita Peters 1.19 Meters is a pint-sized hero who sees every day as a huge adventure, until life’s rules and smallprint get in her way. So when Rita and her best-buddy Suzi discover the height chart in Rita’s bedroom is a magic portal to other worlds, Rita has a supercharged shortcut to all the excitement she wants, where these other worlds allow her and Suzi to live out their wildest dreams. When Rita inevitably bites off more than she can chew, it helps her realise she should accept herself for exactly who she is, whatever shape or size. Length: 52x11 mins One Animation Pte Ltd 305 Alexandra Road, Unit 05-05, Vantage Automotive Centre, Singapore159942 T: +65 62731785 F: +65 +65 62731769

Hard An adaptation of the French series of the same name, Hard follows the story of Sofia, a dedicated housewife who is recently widowed. After the sudden death of her husband, Sofia watches as her perfect life falls apart upon discovering that he lied throughout his entire life about his profession; and the inheritance he leaves comes in the form of a production company for pornographic films. Now she must adapt to her new life. Length: 6x30 mins (Season 1) HBO Latin America 396 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, Fl 33134, U.S. T: +1 (786) 501 8346

A Mother’s Guilt Who puts her own life at risk for someone else? “Mother” is the only person who would do anything for her child, sacrifice her own life or end someone else’s. Yet – can “being a mother” change the verdict of a crime? This is the dramatic story of a mother who commits a

Donkey Hodie Every episode is set in the land of Someplace Else, where Donkey Hodie and her pals empower pre-schoolers to dream big and overcome obstacles, to work hard and persevere, to be resourceful and discover they can solve programmes on their own – and to laugh themselves silly along the way. Length: 80x11 mins 9 Story Media Group 23 Fraser Ave, Toronto, ON, M6K 1Y7, Canada T: +1 416 530 9900


crime for her child and the love that tested by this guilt. Kanal D International Yelda Haber Ve Gorsel Yayincilik A.S., Demioren Medya Center 100. Yıl Mah. 2264. Sk. No:1, 34204 Bagcilar, Istabul, Turkey T: +90 212 413 56 66

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Great Escapes with Morgan Freeman

Bionic Max Max, a malfunctioning bionic guinea pig and his goldfish buddy, JC, escape from their laboratory into the busting streets of Woodchuck Woods. But adapting to the urban jungles is no small feat for our pair of intrepid misfits, who try to fit in with the local wildlife while living madcap and clumsy adventures. Length: 52x11 mins Gaumont 56 Berwick Street, London W1F 8SW, United Kingdom T: +44 (0) 203 405 9193

Prisons are designed to keep the bad guys on the inside. But for some captive geniuses, incarceration was just another safe to crack. Hosted by Morgan Freeman, star of The Shawshank Redemption – one of the greatest prison break movies of all time – this series profiles history’s greatest escape masterminds and their plans, from inspiration to execution through to the harrowing manhunts that followed. Length: 6x60 mins A+E NETWORKS 80 Bendemeer Road, #07-04 Hyflux Innovation Centre Singapore 339949 W: sales.aenetworks.com E: intl.sales@aenetworks.com

Tish Tash

After the Wildfires Fire is a force that has shaped the nature of Australia. However, as this bushfire season has made brutally clear, climate change is increasing the scale and intensity of bushfires. This documentary charts the recovery of wildlife in the aftermath of Australia’s recent catastrophic bushfires through stories of hope, human intervention and resilience. It provides an urgent message to safeguard our environment and bring about the necessary intervention required to maintain biodiversity on our planet, before it is too late. Length: 1x60 mins HDR, 4K & HD Blue Ant International 130 Merton Street, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario, M4S 1A4, Canada T:+1 416 646 4434

Ferdinand Von Schirach: Enemies The kidnapping of a 12-year-old girl is told in two parallel films. One film follows inspector Peter Nadler, who in a race against time uses dangerous methods to save the girl. The other follows the accused’s defense attorney, Konrad Biegler, who wants to protect his client at all costs. In the end, Nadler and Biegler face each other in court and fight for their ideas of justice. But what is right and what is just? Does the end justify all means? We all want to do the right thing, but are we allowed to break the law for that? Length: 2x90 mins Global Screen – A Brand of TELEPOOL Sonnenstraße 21, 80331 München, Germany T: +49 89 244 1295 500

Pre-school show Tish Tash follows the adventures of a young bear called Tish, her bear family and her larger-than-life imaginary friend Tash, as they learn about the world around them. No matter what troubles they face – be it surviving long, boring car trips or helping Tish’s baby brother not to be too sad about losing his favourite toy – these special friends can create new worlds around themselves, embarking on fun adventures while inspiring imaginative play and problem solving in young children. Tish Tash is produced by South Korean animation shop Studio Gale, Singapore-based August Media Holdings, Philippines media group Synergy88 Entertainment and BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning U.K. based Karrot Entertainment. Length: 52x5 mins CAKE Level 5, 76 Charlotte Street, London W1T 4QS, U.K. T: +44 207 307 3230

Polly Pocket With her shrinking-powered magic locket around her neck and her friends by her side, Polly Pocket proves there’s no adventure too big for “tiny power”. Our pint-sized heroes use their unique point-of-view to help the neighbourhood animals, conquer school assignments, and discover a big world full of fun. Length: 65x22 mins WildBrain Queen’s Quay Terminal, 207 Queens Quay W., Suite 550, Toronto, Ontario, M5J 1A7, Canada T: +1 416 363 8034


contentasia december 2020

Screenings C


Coming in 2021

Be included, contact: Leah at leah@contentasia.tv (Americas and Europe) or Masliana at mas@contentasia.tv (Asia, Australia and Middle East)




© Great Southern & All3Media International

Dog Almighty This action-packed competition format searches for the most talented, gifted and downright exceptional pooch. Over the course of each 60-minute episode, dog and owner must master a variety of specifically designed challenges, as they compete to take home the coveted golden dog bowl and life changing prize-money. A mix of serious competition and warm-hearted humour, Dog Almighty is also an ode to the enduring and timeless relationship between humans and their pets. Behind every talented dog is an adoring human – and both can be competitive! Length: 18x60 mins all3media International 1 George Street, #10-01, Singapore, 049145 T: +65 9459 2139

Wynonna Earp An award-winning international cult sensation, Wynonna Earp is a fast-paced, gun-slinging thriller that follows Wyatt Earp’s great-granddaughter as she battles demons and other supernatural beings. After years away, Wynonna Earp has travelled back to her hometown of Purgatory to reluctantly take on the role destined for Wyatt Earp’s heir: end the family curse that has resurrected the villains her legendary ancestor dispatched – now known as Revenants. Using her unique abilities, a magical gun, and a dysfunctional posse of allies, Wynonna must try to stop the Revenants from taking over the town — and escaping into the world. Length: 49x60 mins (4 seasons) Cineflix Rights 1st Floor, 1 Lorenzo Street, London, WC1X 9DJ, U.K. T: +44(0)20 3179 5050


Chuggington Wilson, Koko and Brewster are young trainees learning to ride the rails through exciting adventures of teamwork, friendship and fun in the traintastic world of Chuggington! Length: 170x10 mins plus 7x30 mins (Season 6 available now) Jetpack Distribution Churchill House Borehamwood Hertfordshire, WD6 2HP, U.K. www.jetpackdistribution.tv

Each animated episode leads kids on an eco-adventure. Whether in the sea or on shore, the positive SeaBelievers characters with their distinct seaweed hair, seashell nose, sea-colored eyes and webbed hands and feet, problem-solve and take action around key environmental issues. Each SeaBeliever carries a Magic Sand Dollar which ignites his or her unique super powers – fuelled by their self-belief. Length: 52x11 mins Studio 100 Media Studio 100 Media GmbH, Neumarkter Str. 18-20, 81673 Munich, Germany T: +49 89 960 8550

Cannonball Next Action Star The country-wide search for the next male and female action stars has begun! Each week, contestants participate in challenges to determine who stays and who goes home. The winners, chosen through competition and voting, star in an action movie. The series was originally produced for NBC and the format is also available. Length: 10x60 mins GRB Studios 13400 Riverside Dr #300, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423, U.S. T: +61 417 441260


Cannonball is an adrenalinefueled show where contestants face different kinds of incredible inflatable obstacles and water-based challenges. The show consists of multiple rounds covering distance, speed, height, and more. Length: 12x50 mins ITV Studios ITV Studios Global Entertainment, Rooms 517-520, 5th Floor, Sun Hung Kai Centre 30 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong T: +852 2511 9700

contentasia december 2020



26-27 August 2021

Be included, contact: CJ Yong at cj@contentasia.tv


World of Himmapan

Ana´s Revenge This is the story of Analia Guerrero, a young and beautiful woman who decides to take revenge on the man who killed her mother, Guillermo Leon Mejia, a prominent politician who is running for president. On her path to revenge, Analia faces facts that challenge her decision; however, she will connect with other women experiencing similar situations and she will bring justice in the name of each one of them. Length: 56x60 mins Caracol Televisión 150 Alhambra circle. Suite # 1250. Miami, FL, 33134 U.S. T: +1 305 960 2018

Cities Reinvented Before long, most of the world’s population will be living in cities. If megacities are to be in a position to tackle the challenges represented by overcrowding, overburdened infrastructure, energy provision and climate change, appropriate structures need to be established. Whatever is planned or built today will determine whether cities will be good places to live in the future or whether they will collapse under the strain. The series shines a light on innovative architectural and urban-planning projects in New York, Tokyo and Singapore that can be considered exemplary responses to some of those challenges. Length: 1x90 mins/ 3x45 mins/ 2x30 mins DW Kurt-SchumacherStr. 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany T: +49 228 429 2712; +60 12 277 2201


World of Himmapan, an upcoming 2021 fantasy adventure series, takes you to the mythical Himmapan forest of magic and danger. Linked by karma, Pim hires a handsome but stubborn hunter named Krit to guide her through the uncharted Himmapan forest to hunt for the legendary mystical stone ‘Ulogmanee’, which has magical powers that could heal her father’s ailment. Unbeknownst to them, Singhol, the forest master, orchestrated their dangerous journey. Pim and Krit discover their past life connections – love and hatred for each other – and realise humans’ capacity for cruelty, compassion and true love. Length: 17x85 mins (TBC) JKN Global Media PCL JKN Gallery Salaya, 45/14 Moo 1 Songkanong Sub-District, Sam Phran District, Nakhon Pathom 73210, Thailand T: +66 34 310 569

Sweet Art With Janice Wong (In-Development) Internationally renowned artist and dessert queen, Janice Wong, takes us on a journey of epic proportions through Japan, reflecting on the art and culture both past and present, and creating immersive pieces of edible art inspired by the artists she meets, the art she sees, the stories she hears and the places she explores. The series will have all the quiet and nuanced intensity of Chef’s Table crossed with a highstakes, baking series with one key difference: Janice Wong is competing against the limits of her own imagination. Length: 6x30 mins Bomanbridge Media 8 Smith Street #02-01, Singapore 058922 T: +65 6224 4211

Euronews Now Breaking News and in depth analysis on the biggest stories making headlines in Europe and across the world. Euronews is Europe’s Town Square with a dedication to “all voices, all views, all welcome”. Length: 30 mins From Friday to Wednesday at 8pm (SG time Euronews 56 quai Rambaud, 69002 Lyon, France T: +33 4 2867 0514

Power Couple An exciting prime-time reality format that puts love to the test like you’ve never seen before! The couple’s emotions, humour, tensions and love come into play. In this game, couples who are confident in themselves and believe in their relationships can turn that into a lot of money. In this game, the winning couple’s relationship determines the size of the prize. Length: format Dori Media Group 2 Raul Wallenberg St., Tel Aviv, 6971901, Israel T: +65 8338 3719

contentasia december 2020


ContentAsia Awards are... An extension of ContentAsiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s day-in-day-out year-round dedicated focus on and connection with Asiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s content industry 100% judged by industry peers with hands-on knowledge and experience of the creative & production process Independent of sponsorship from video entertainment brands &/or companies eligible to submit entries in the Awards Entries open: 6 Mar 2021 Entry deadline: 11 June 2021 Judging from: 25 June 2021 Nominees announced: 6 August 2021 Winners: 27 Aug 2021



Toy Boy Hugo, a hot stripper, wakes up in the middle of the ocean after a wild party with the beheaded body of his lover’s husband on deck. Seven years later, after a young attorney discovers trial irregularities, Hugo is granted parole, and sets out to find the truth. Length: 13x70 mins Atresmedia Television Av Isla Graciosa 13, San Sebastian de los Reyes, Madrid, Spain T: +34 9162 30254


9 Windows A co-production from Nippon TV and The Story Lab, 9 Windows is a unique gameshow-meets-talent contest that celebrates ordinary people with outlandish skills. Set in an iconic, interactive studio setting, each episode features nine contestants with astonishing and unusual abilities, all beamed in from their home through ‘nine windows’ – giant studio screens. Across three compelling and hilarious rounds, the contestants will reveal their extraordinary hidden talent in hopes to amaze the jury and have the chance to win a cash prize in the final round. Running time: 60min. eps. Nippon TV 1-6-1 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 105-7444 T: +81 3 6215 3036

Yuichi is a bit of a dreamer as a young boy. A trifle worrying as a future heir to the family clothing business. Then, the boy meets music, and it changes his life. Self-taught, Yuichi blossoms into a talented composer, meets a young singer named Oto, and together the two eventually put out a string of hit songs. Based on the life of a real-life composer, Yell is the story of a prolific creator who left a great body of work from before, during, and after the war – always delivering music that resonated with the hearts of the people. Length: 120x15 mins NHK Enterprises 4-14 Kamiyama-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan 150-0047 T: +81 3 3468 6984

Descendants of the Sun Lucas Manalo is a principled soldier and captain of the special forces of the Philippine military. He meets Dr Maxine Dela Cruz, a talented and dedicated heart surgeon. He is instantly attracted to her and they begin to date. Unfortunately, their professions and responsibilities keep getting in the way and they decide to part ways. As fate would have it, Lucas and Maxine meet again when they are both deployed on a peacekeeping mission in a war-torn region of the country. They spend time together and soon, rekindle their romance. But a bigger challenge will test their relationship when Lucas finds out that the terrorist he has been chasing turns out to be Maxine’s long-lost brother. GMA Network, Inc. 10th Flr., GMA Network Center EDSA corner Timog avenue Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines 1103 T: +632 8333 76 33

The Devil Punisher


The Devil Punisher is the story of Zhong Kui, the king of ghosts in Taiwanese folklore. Set in modern times, this romantic fantasy series tells touching tales about the relationship between humans and ghosts. The bridge connecting the world of the living and the underworld explodes. Injured, Zhong Kui has to catch all the runaway ghosts and Meng Po, who finds herself in the mortal world. Zhong Kui later discovers that society is in turmoil. Someone is scheming to destroy the world. How will Zhong Kui save it from destruction? Length: 20x90 mins Sanlih E-Television Co., Ltd. No. 159, Sec. 1, Jiuzong Rd., Taipei, Taiwan T: +886 28792 8888

The local version of the hit U.S. scripted series House M.D., starring Timuçin Esen as Ateş Hekimoğlu, an acclaimed infectious disease and nephrology physician. With his team of three young doctors, Hekimoglu does whatever it takes to solve the most puzzling cases in his own way. Length: S1 44 Commercial Hours, S2 - In Production Kanal D International Yelda Haber Ve Gorsel Yayincilik A.S., Demioren Medya Center 100. Yıl Mah. 2264. Sk. No:1, 34204 Bagcilar, Istabul, Turkey T: +90 212 413 56 66


contentasia december 2020

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ContentAsia's Issue Five, December 2020  

ContentAsia's Issue Five, December 2020