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Novelas in Asia Formats in Focus KBS’s Kim In-Kyu Astro’s Henry Tan MDeC’s Badlisham Ghazali
THE MAGAZINE OF ASIA-PACIFIC TELEVISION
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American World Pictures www.americanworldpictures.com • • • • •
Sinbad and the Minotaur
Sinbad and the Minotaur Paradox Somebody’s Hero Kill Katie Malone Flesh Wounds
Films with “creatures” in them are always in high demand, observes Jeffrey Goldman, the president of worldwide sales at American World Pictures, which was founded by Mark Lester and Dana Dubovsky. He says that this trend has contributed to the success of films like Sinbad and the Minotaur and Paradox. “Fast-paced action films like Flesh Wounds also do very well,” Goldman notes. “Somebody’s Hero will do well because it’s very family oriented.” Meanwhile, Kill Katie Malone tells a classic ghost tale with a modern twist. “Based on past sales performance, I anticipate a strong ATF,” says Goldman. “We have strong partnerships with many large Asia-based media companies, and a lot of our films appeal directly to regional consumers, so I am confident the market will be successful.”
“Our films do well in the region and, over the years, it has become apparent that certain elements push sales.”
IN THIS ISSUE Formats Race Ahead There is a healthy appetite in the region for international concepts 16
Asian Love Affair
www.caracolinternacional.com • The English Teacher • Women on the Edge • Family Secrets • Mariana & Scarlett • The Cartel 2
Caracol Television is being represented at the ATF this year by Berta Orozco, who recently replaced Alejandro Toro as sales executive for the region. She says she is excited to have the “opportunity to develop fruitful partnerships with colleagues and clients” at the market, with a view to expanding the Colombian company’s Asian presence. Caracol aims to follow up its Asian success on Gabriela, Turns of Destiny and Luna, The Heiress with its slate of new novelas and series. There’s The English Teacher, about a man who starts fresh in the U.S. after his wife leaves him; the 60-part Family Secrets; Mariana & Scarlett, about two sisters in the fashion business; Women on the Edge; and The Cartel 2. “We have closed some very interesting deals in Asia,” Orozco says. “The Vietnamese adaptation of Roman x 2 will be airing in early 2011.”
Mariana & Scarlett
Latin American novelas remain a staple for Asian broadcasters 26
Kim In-Kyu The president and CEO of Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)
“ Indonesia, China
and Vietnam are very interesting territories for Caracol, but we believe that our productions can reach most of the continent.
Get daily news on the Asia-Pacific region
by visiting www.tvasia.ws
Henry Tan The COO of Malaysia’s Astro
Badlisham Ghazali The CEO of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) 36
Christine Fellowes The managing director for Asia at Comcast International Media Group 38
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DQ Entertainment www.dqentertainment.com • Tara Duncan • Feluda • Galactik Football • Maryoku Yummy • Keymon Ache
Ricardo Seguin Guise
Publisher Mansha Daswani
Editor Kristin Brzoznowski
India’s DQ Entertainment will be at the Asia TV Forum showcasing properties that were developed in house as well as titles from the U.S. and Europe that it is co-producing. Shows with an Indian hook include Feluda, adapted from the late Satyajit Ray’s The Adventures of Feluda, which is being produced for Disney Channel India. The 52x11-minute Keymon Ache meanwhile, for Nick India, focuses on a ten-year-old Indian boy and his adventures with his singing-dancing-rapping pet monkey. The company is also bringing to ATF a host of properties it is representing exclusively in Asia, such as the Moonscoop co-production Tara Duncan, Gaumont-Alphanim’s Galactik Foot ball, and the American Greetings Properties co-production Maryoku Yummy.
Production and Design Director Simon Weaver
Online Director Phyllis Q. Busell
Art Director Cesar Suero
Sales and Marketing Manager Erica Antoine-Cole
Business Affairs Manager Alyssa Menard
Sales and Marketing Assistant
Ricardo Seguin Guise
President Anna Carugati
Executive VP and Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani
VP of Strategic Development TV Asia Pacific © 2010 WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, #1207 New York, NY 10010 Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website:
Globo TV International www.globotvinternational.com • • • • •
Between Love and Desire Seize the Day Sound and Fury GloboDOC Internal Affairs
“Asia, for the licensing division,
has been the fastest-growing business in the last three or four years.
Globo TV International continues to emphasize to its clients that it is more than just a supplier of telenovelas. And this mandate is reflected in its offerings for ATF. “We have a very strong, diversified catalogue,” says Raphael Corrêa Netto, director of international sales. Headlining the portfolio is Between Love and Desire, a novela coproduction with Mexico’s TV Azteca. Also on the novela slate is Seize the Day, while on the drama series front there’s Internal Affairs. Another highlight is the mini-series Sound and Fury, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Fernando Meirelles. Corrêa Netto sees great potential in the region for GloboDOC, a package of specials about Brazilian wildlife, culture, science, technology and personalities. “[Our] documentaries have been doing a nice job [in Asia],” he says. 24
—Raphael Corrêa Netto
Between Love and Desire
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Media Development Authority of Singapore www.smf.sg • Milly, Molly • Dream Defenders • Dukes of Broxstonia • Ask Laura • It Only Hurts When I Laugh
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) has a growing catalogue that showcases its dominance within the animation sector. At the Singapore Pavilion at ATF, the MDA will be presenting Milly, Molly, from Scrawl Studios and Beyond Entertainment. Dream Defenders comes from Tiny Island Productions and is a done in CGI. The kids’ comedy Dukes of Broxstonia is from Sticky Pictures, while Ask Laura, a tween animated drama, is produced by Red Kite Animations, Tomavistas, Submarine and Televisió de Catalunya. “As the anchor event of the Asia Media Festival, the ATF has grown from strength to strength,” says Aubeck Kam, the new CEO of the MDA. “Last year’s ATF saw an all time high of over 2,500 participants. More than $88 million worth of deals were also signed. Through them, Singapore grows from strength to strength as Asia’s gateway for the trading, making and distribution of television media content.”
“MDA looks forward to an
even more exciting exchange of ideas and thought leadership, as well as technological showcases at ATF.
Motion Pictures www.motionpic.com LMN’s
• Glumpers • Hero Kids • Van Dogh • Boom & Reds • LMN’s
The catalogue at Motion Pictures spans the children’s demographic, from preschool to pre-teens. For the youngest set, Van Dogh is a 3D series of 104 4-minute episodes centered on an artistic pooch that shows children the magic in his brushstrokes. Also for preschoolers is Boom & Reds, another 104x4-minute 3D series. The show features a friendly purple ogre who in every episode will try to find out what a crowd of peppy mushroom-headed creatures are drawing on the floor. LMN’s targets the 5-to-9 set as a 2D action-adventure series, while Glumpers and Hero Kids skew up to 12. Motion Pictures heads to ATF looking to increase the sales of its 3D shows, says Tony Albert, the company’s sales director. Another goal, he notes, is to “position our two new shows Glumpers and LMN’s in a way that optimizes the exploitation of derivative rights such as licensing and merchandising.”
“We provide a mixture of comedy,
action and preschool, which, added to the high-quality CGI we produce, becomes really appealing to the needs of the Asian market.
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Nordic World www.nordicworld.tv • • • • •
Draw with Oistein
My Mercy Box Draw with Oistein Street Skills: Africa CarboOcean Future of Water
Nordic World has high expectations for this year’s ATF, says CEO Espen Huseby.“Most of the territories in the region are the ones topping the list of fast-developing countries.” The company will be looking to notch up deals on the three-part documentary The Future of Water, as well as CarboOcean, also a factual production. “The effects of global warming and scarce resources is a universal theme,” says Huseby of these titles’ appeal. He is also banking on the world’s interest in soccer to lead sales for Street Skills: Africa, featuring football tricks and freestyling. Further highlights come from the kids’ arena, with My Mercy Box and Draw with Oistein. The live-entertainment My Mercy Box is about a girl who lives onboard the world’s largest hospital ship in Benin, Africa. “Scandinavian producers are [among] the very few that produce live children’s entertainment,” Huseby notes. Draw with Oistein, meanwhile, encourages children to experiment with simple drawing techniques and expand their creativity.
“This is our third consecutive year at ATF and if
the number of participants still keeps on increasing, there is no other place to be in Asia.
Playboy TV International www.ptvioriginals.com • 69 Sexy Things 2 Do Before You Die • Neighborhood Rumors • Passion Cove • Love Goddess of the World • The Playboy Radio Show
69 Sexy Things 2 Do Before You Die
The Playboy brand name is synonymous with high-quality adult entertainment. The highlight offerings for ATF are no exception. There’s 69 Sexy Things 2 Do Before You Die, which features the ultimate sexual checklist. Neighborhood Rumors is described as Sex and the City meets Desperate Housewives. The series Passion Cove takes place at the fictitious Passion Cove mansion on Malibu beach. The slate also includes Love Goddess of the World, featuring in-depth interviews, clips and intimate moments with some of the world’s most desired ‘love goddesses;’ and The Playboy Radio Show, as Playboy TV brings cameras into the studio. “With high production [values] and branded with style and interest, these new subjects will be an attraction to viewers,” says Lanny Huang, the general manager for Playboy TV Asia & Japan. Huang says her goals for the market include meeting “new Asian platform owners and independent pay-TV operators that come to ATF who are interested in sexy content.”
“I hope to meet new Asian
platform owners and independent pay-TV operators that come to ATF who are interested in sexy content.
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Televisa Internacional www.televisainternacional.tv • Triumph of Love • Teresa • Dream with Me • Marriage Diaries • Decades
From its Beijing office, Televisa Internacional has been steadily expanding its Asian business, particularly in China. This year, Televisa signed a landmark deal with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV to co-produce an adaptation of the novela Distilling Love. ATF will present Televisa with an opportunity to drive both its completed-program and format businesses. On the unscripted end,Televisa is offering the format Decades, a lightentertainment variety series. Telenovelas, however, take top billing for the Mexican distributor. There’s Triumph of Love, about a powerful fashion designer who is reunited with her long-lost daughter. Teresa focuses on a young woman who uses her looks to get ahead, regardless of who she hurts in the process. In Timeless Love, a couple is driven apart by a malicious lie. Marriage Diaries takes a contemporary look at six couples. And geared to a younger set is Dream with Me, about two teens, Clara and Luca, and their group of friends.
Dream with Me
TV Azteca www.comarex.tv • Drowning City • Running from Destiny • Daniela • Torn Apart • Grachi
Running from Destiny
TV Azteca, through its exclusive distributor, Comarex, has high hopes for its ATF outing this year. “This year is special, as we are introducing Drowning City, our first action-thriller series,” says Martha Contreras, head of sales for Asia. The 20x1-hour show, first introduced at MIPCOM, joins a slate of new and returning novelas from TV Azteca. Running from Destiny is about three women who escape from prison after being incarcerated for crimes they didn’t commit. Daniela is a “classic telenovela of an idyllic and incomparable romance where past secrets eclipse the happiness of a young couple,” Contreras says.“We are confident that Daniela will also be a huge success.” Torn Apart is another classic telenovela on offer. Rounding out the slate is the teen telenovela Grachi. “It’s a story about a young girl who must learn to use her new-found magical powers all while coping with school, boys and growing up,” Contreras says. “We have one episode which has been filmed in 3D which is amazing.”
“ATF is a very important market for us as it gives us the opportunity to meet up with the most important players in the region.”
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P A N O R A M A By Mansha Daswani
The More Things Change... Five years ago, TV Asia Pacific produced its first Asia TV Forum edition. At the time, we reported on two shows that were making lots of noise in India. Indian Idol on SET was generating mass hysteria. And STAR Plus had brought back Kaun Banega Crorepati, its version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? that had, five years earlier, revolutionized Indian TV and catapulted the channel to the top of the ratings heap. In 2005, DTH was an arena to keep an eye on, but was nowhere close to posing a threat to the strong cable incumbents. And while there may have been some international companies waiting in the wings, eyeing India’s riches, few had made any headway into the vast, complex market. Fast-forward five years and India is still a hotbed of activity, solidifying its position as one of the region’s most competitive, and vibrant, TV industries. Indian Idol, which wrapped its fifth season in August, is still one of SET’s highest-rating shows. And KBC is back again, having moved from STAR Plus to SET, with Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan returning to host. As the old adage goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. But Indian TV is a far different business today. STAR, SET and Zee have had to move aside for Colors, a channel coowned by Viacom that came from out of nowhere to steal the reigning kings’ thunder.Turner is hoping to do the same with its recent acquisition, Imagine. And a host of other Western companies are making moves in India, from CBS Studios International partnering with Reliance Big Entertainment for a slate of networks to AETN International inking a joint venture with the Network18 Group. DTH, meanwhile, is now a serious contender for India’s ever-growing pay-TV base. The DTH pie is expected to rise from 17 million subscribers in 2009 to 45 million in 2014 and 58 million in 2020, Media Partners Asia reports. By 2012, India will become the world’s largest DTH market with 36 million homes. Nonetheless, India is still being battered by pay-TV piracy, as is the rest of the region. The Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) recently reported that piracy cost the Asian pay-TV business more than $2 billion last year—double the figure from 2005. Digital TV, combined with the rollout of addressable systems to prevent piracy, are seen as the answer. In Hong Kong, for example, cable platform i-Cable has been able to stop the illegal tapping of its lines by installing new set-top boxes. And yet, the pirates will always find a way to catch up. Across Asia you can buy settop boxes that will deliver hundreds of international channels over a broadband connection, many of which may not even be available in your home market. Moreover, CASBAA’s latest piracy report doesn’t take into account the revenues lost 32
from content illegally being streamed online, a trend that will continue as high-speed Internet access becomes more prevalent across Asia. Old media, new media, the problems, and challenges, remain the same. In Korea, public broadcaster KBS is approaching the impending 2012 digital transition and rolling out a DTT service while facing a financing crunch brought on by a frozen license fee and an ever-more competitive ad market. In this issue, KBS’s president and CEO, Kim In-Kyu, discusses how the broadcaster is tackling these hurdles with innovative content and a commitment to quality. What certainly has changed, though, is the sheer number of opportunities available for content owners in Asia. As this edition reports, distributors of Latin American novelas, undaunted by the popularity of serialized daily dramas from within the region, are pursuing co-productions and broadening their catalogues. Formats are also gaining favor across the board, as we found in our special report in this edition. More and more broadcasters are willing to pay for the rights to produce international formats (instead of just copying them) and are demanding everything from access prime-time studio-based game shows to big, pan-regional productions. As the content industries in Asia have matured, it’s no longer a one-way street to the region. Japan is a prolific producer of ideas for the global market, and territories like India, Philippines and Malaysia are angling to be the same. Indeed, in Malaysia, DTH platform Astro is plowing investments into local content like Imam Muda, which the company is hoping will have international appeal. And the government-backed Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) is putting its weight behind the creation of a broad slate of programming that has international legs, from animation to documentaries. CEO Badlisham Ghazali explains MDeC’s mandate in this issue. The theme for this year’s Asia TV Forum is Above and Beyond. For a market that is now in its 11th year, it’s an appropriate slogan, reflecting the sentiment that Asia has finally moved beyond the hype of the last decade and is actually translating into serious business for program sellers—if, that is, you have the right content, and are flexible enough to navigate some rapidly changing, yet often still deeply traditional, television markets. 12/10
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BBC Worldwide’s Jhalak Dikhla Jaa on SET.
Ahead A number of territories across the Asia Pacific have become adept at creating their own formats, but there’s still a healthy appetite in the region for licensing international concepts.
AXN Asia’s The Amazing Race Asia.
By Kristin Brzoznowski
igns of health abound in the television markets across the Asia Pacific. The region is expected to have 784 million TV households by 2015, with the pay-TV base increasing to more than 400 million subscribers by that time, according to a recent report by Informa. And there have been positive ad forecasts for much of the region, helping to pad the budgets of cash-strapped broadcasters that had been reluctant to invest in international formats. “The Asian economies are growing rapidly,” says Patrick Schult, the CEO of FremantleMedia Asia. “Advertisers are obviously keen to back any media which reaches out to their consumer, and, thankfully, across Asia, the leading media platform to do this is still television.” With advertisers spending more and programming budgets improving, Schult has an increased interest in international formats. “The appetite is very healthy and appears to be growing,” he explains. “There is an increasing acceptance that formats have a brand value. In the case of internationally successful brands like Idols or The X Factor, the positive effect of using this 34
brand in a local context radiates quite widely.We expect by the end of this year to have introduced over 40 different localized formats to Asia.” While FremantleMedia has sold a wide range of formats into the region, it’s the talent-seeking behemoths in its catalogue that have certainly garnered the most attention. Big-name shows like Idols and Got Talent have aired in countries such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore, among others. “We are very excited about the launch of The X Factor in India next year as a local FremantleMedia India production, and there is very high interest in the show from other countries,” continues Schult. “Got Talent will continue to build on the strong start it has experienced this year. In the Philippines, for example, Got Talent ranked as the number one show in its time slot throughout the series. This format is quite a unique property in Asia in that it is patriotic but not in a contrived fashion— the outcome of this format is genuinely uplifting to a whole country.”
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Nicola Söderlund, the president of Sparks Network, has also taken note of the appetite for big studio shows. “The channelss are mostly asking for big ‘shiny-floor shows’ such as entertainment shows, game shows and talent shows,” he says. “The factual types of shows are still hard to sell here.” Karoline Spodsberg, the managing director of Banijay International, says that entertainment formats of all kinds seem to be striking a chord with buyers in Asia. She observes, “Over the past few years we’ve witnessed a number of high-profile U.S. or generally Western formats breaking into the Asian market…. It’s clear that there’s an appetite for big format blockbusters.” SHOW THEM THE MONEY
Spodsberg notes, however, that the enthusiasm for the shiny-floor entertainment formats in Asia is often tempered by budget concerns. “The networks can sometimes struggle to come up with the funds necessary to produce them, so there is a trend toward advertiser-funded programming,” she points out. “That makes Banijay International’s catalogue particularly interesting for our Asian clients, as many of our formats are perfectly suited to deliver advertiser sponsorship or product placement,” Spodsberg says, pointing to key titles like My Parents Are Gonna Love You and 71 Degrees North, as well as new shows like Operation Neighbourhood. Avi Armoza, the CEO of Armoza Formats, has a similar sense about the region’s ability to finance its format appetite. “As a region, the enthusiasm about the formats and the potential for them to succeed in a territory can’t always be matched in the financial terms we’re used to dealing with in Europe and North America,” he says. “However, it’s a growing market and the reality of the situation is changing there very quickly. Even if the funds aren’t there now, it’s important to be part of the development and to form solid partnerships in the region, and to grow together.” Global Agency is one company that has taken advantage of partnership opportunities in the region.The Istanbul-based outfit recently entered into an agreement with India’s Miditech, whereby Miditech has access to Global Agency’s catalogue of entertainment formats in India and Global Agency has exclusive
international representation for formats created by Miditech.The company has produced local versions of mega-formats such as Pop Idol, Deal or No Deal, Extreme Makeover and Fame Academy, among many others. Commenting on the demands of broadcasters in the region, Global Agency’s CEO, Izzet Pinto, says, “Reality shows, quiz shows and talent formats are very popular right now.” He adds, “Wedding and dating formats have recently entered the market and are really beginning to take hold.” Pinto explains, “These shows become like unscripted telenovelas.Viewers get really hooked on them and broadcasters prefer a daily production.” ALL IN THE FAMILY
Global Agency’s wedding format Perfect Bride has done particularly well in Asia. The format originated in Turkey and went on to be produced in India, Korea, Lebanon and Italy.“It did exceptionally well in India and Korea,” says Pinto,“with an actual wedding taking place in India. This wedding made history, as it was the first live wedding on Indian television.” Perfect Bride has now been optioned in China, and Pinto is hopeful the company will score a full pickup on the title. “It would be an amazing format for China. Twelve young women who want to marry are introduced to six young men, except the men bring their mothers along with them! If the son is an only child, his mother will be especially involved in his choice of life partner and there will be wonderful drama between the generations.” Armoza Formats has also found success with shows that deal with family issues and that involve the whole family, with titles such as Upgrade and Overdraft Family. “Our game-show formats are receiving a lot of attention in Asia, where in-studio, prime-time shows seem to be the number one request,” Armoza points out. “The Bubble is being seriously looked at in multiple territories, as is our new lucky-numbers game show Perfect pair: India’s Miditech produced a local version of the Global Agency format Perfect Bride for STAR Plus, kicking off a strong partnership between the two companies. 7-Question Millionaire.” 12/10
Dance stars: VTV3 in Vietnam is among the Southeast Asian broadcasters to have signed up for a local version of BBC Worldwide’s Dancing with the Stars.
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Another strong selling point for the Armoza catalogue is its use of digital extensions surrounding shows, in line with its new slate of multiplatform “Armoza 3.0” formats. “Asia is often on the cutting-edge as far as technology, smartphone usage and Internet access [go],” Armoza points out, “and formats that are cross-platform appeal to broadcasters’ agendas of expanding online presence and branding, and even feed into existing content partnerships with telcos.” EXTENDING THE EXPERIENCE
Key to success: India’s Got Talent, a local version of the hit FremantleMedia franchise, broadcasts on Colors.
“Mobile is huge in the region,” agrees Banijay’s Spodsberg, “so anything that includes viewer participation and voting is attractive. Banijay International’s cross-media reality hit Dilemma is a perfect format for the Asian market in these terms, as it really harnesses mobile and Internet opportunities.” “The new-media extensions for formats provide a deeper level of engagement for viewers and are always compelling to clients, as they represent additional revenue sources,” adds FremantleMedia’s Schult. “FremantleMedia is continually innovating in this area, using digital and new-media platforms and technologies to extend our brands into the digital arena.” Sparks also sees great potential in multiplatform productions. “Channels are asking for online and mobile extensions,” remarks Söderlund. “They obviously want to capitalize on the relationship with their audience and communicate beyond the TV show. Korea is very advanced in this respect.” Söderlund points to China as another market where online is a particularly strong platform. “It’s much easier [in China] to launch a show on the web than trying to get through the heavily regulated Chinese TV market,” he notes. Many consider China to be one of the toughest markets to crack, yet also one of the most promising in an already enticing region. Söderlund says, “In Sparks we have meetings between
the members and there is a growing sense that there are tremendous business opportunities waiting out there. And it’s really exciting. The Chinese market is very difficult but the numbers are just amazing.” “Much of the opportunity at the moment seems to be in China,” echoes Banijay’s Spodsberg.“But for us a big question is: exactly how are we going to go about tapping the Asian market? We are currently exploring licensing deals with established distributors on the ground, which can take our IP and market it successfully in multiple countries across Asia, leveraging their local expertise.” LOCAL TIES
Armoza Formats is currently exploring opportunities to partner in Japan that look very promising for 2011.Armoza observes that formats are “a growing trend in Asia. Leading the way, of course, is India, but the past year has seen quite a boom in China, too.” The company has sold formats into India and China and is currently working on finalizing a licensing deal in Vietnam, its first in Southeast Asia. “Southeast Asia is coming alive, and Japan is slowing looking to acquisitions, although their mega-development departments make it counter-productive and economically inefficient,” he says. “It’s such a unique and insular market that adapting existing formats doesn’t make that much sense right now.” Sparks’s Söderlund has also taken note of the Asia Pacific’s power to generate its own formats. “Until recently…the rights holders have been more interested in selling formats to the West, rather than acquiring formats,” he says.“But lately there is a clear shift towards licensing formats and I’m sure that this trend will grow stronger in the coming years.” For Sparks, having member companies on the ground in Asia—including Lemon Productions of Indonesia, Collaboration
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The right moves: Akademi Fantasia on Malaysia’s Astro Ria is based on a format from Mexico’s TV Azteca.
in Japan, Idea Asia Media of China and Korea’s Everyshow—has given it a competitive edge. “Through our members we get a very strong connection to the local market,” Söderlund explains.“Our members know what, when and to whom they will pitch the formats. In this way, we get a perfect knowledge of the markets where we are active.” He adds, “For the scouting of IP, their local market presence is also invaluable. They know which interesting formats are accessible.” Endemol recently set up a joint venture in Malaysia with Astro Entertainment, aimed at the creation and development of new programming for the local market. The JV has access to Endemol’s global portfolio, to bring projects to local broadcasters, but it will also develop Malaysian content for the global market. FremantleMedia, too, has made use of its local connections to strengthen business in the region. “One of the key strengths of our company is our global network of offices right across Asia and around the world, whether they be tasked with licensing formats or producing them,” says Schult. “Part of our business comes from having established collaborative partnerships and these partners see great value in our reach across Asia.We understand audiences in Indonesia, where we have over 200 staff making a variety of shows, as well as we do in India or the Philippines. Our business is expanding across Asia and its growth will hopefully also result in formats being originated in Asia for international exploitation.”
regional channels are the best buyers of format, since the budgets are the highest.” At Global Agency, Pinto says, “It is mostly free-TV channels that are acquiring foreign formats, but in established territories, such as Japan and Korea, even cable-TV channels are licensing.” Pinto points to the talent-competition Who’s Got 10 Talents? and the adventure series The Big Challenge as formats that are well-suited for Asian treatments. “Who’s Got 10 Talents? has particular appeal to the Asian market because of the strong tradition of using professional performers to entertain the public,” says Pinto. “[The Big Challenge] is a great format for the Asian market because there are so many young, resourceful and entrepreneurial people who would like to prove themselves in tough circumstances.The audience can really imagine themselves in the shoes of any of these contestants. Many have family living around the world and can easily understand how tough it is to communicate in a different culture and language.” Pinto, like many others in the format business, is generally upbeat about the prospects for boosting his company’s activities in the region.“Overall, Asia is a booming continent for formats,” he says, “but not in every market.” While Sparks’s Söderlund shares much of Pinto’s optimism, he is also quick to point out that there are some obstacles in the Asian markets, in particular with the issue of copyright protection.“The respect for IP is not yet developed,” he says.“In some markets the channels press down the format fee by saying that if the licensor would not accept a low fee then they would copy it. But I think that the problem will solve itself as channels and production companies will start to sell their own IP. It’s difficult to be a credible seller if you at the same time have a reputation [for] copying.” As for further regional trends, Söderlund says, “I believe that we will see more international formats from the region. Japan has already paved the way and we have successfully sold Korean formats in Europe.”
A recent alliance between FremantleMedia and Fuji Television of Japan, which sees creative talent across both companies meeting to develop content, has already resulted in the creation of a new format, Total Blackout, which has sold into a number of Scandinavian markets and recently aired in Japan. Also from Fuji, Love Bus is a reality series that Sparks is relaunching at the Asia TV Forum (ATF). Söderlund says the Asia-originated concept has a “make-the-world-a-betterplace aspect that is so attractive to the young viewers.” Sparks further highlights Just Married from MBC in Korea as a format with much promise. “It’s basically a gossip magazine on TV and celebrity gossip is such a universal theme that works in all territories.” Söderlund points out that the broad range of networks in the region, and their radically different target audiences, is giving further strength to the growing format business. “Big terrestrial channels are interested in bigger ‘channel-defining’ formats and the younger-skewed cable channels want more funky formats for their target audience. But the pan38
Generation gap: Endemol’s The Best Years of Our Lives was adapted in China by Shanghai Media Group’s Dragon TV.
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One of Asia’s most advanced and vibrant television markets, South Korea has, thanks to its locally produced dramas, also become one of the biggest exporters of content in the region. The country’s public broadcaster, Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), is one of the leading players in the so-called “Korean Wave.” Maintaining its prominence as a content exporter is a key priority for the company, according to its president and CEO, Kim In-Kyu. Also crucial for the organization, Kim reveals to TV Asia Pacific, is securing an increase in its license fee and preparing for the digital transition in 2012.
KIM: I set out five strategies to transform KBS into a truly public broadcaster. First, re-adjust KBS’s television license fee that has been frozen for the last 30 years. Second, introduce KoreaView, a digital terrestrial TV platform. Modeled after the U.K.’s Freeview, the plan will also be joined by Korea’s three [other] terrestrial TV networks—EBS, MBC and SBS— to provide quality programs to viewers for free. Third, make substantial investments in developing quality content. Fourth, shake up the news service, including KBS News 9, to provide more balanced and in-depth news coverage. Last but not least, reorganize KBS to better serve our viewers, which is our top priority, focus more on content, and strategically deal with a rapidly changing media landscape.
Korean Broadcasting System’s
Kim In-Kyu By Mansha Daswani
TV ASIA PACIFIC: The Korean TV market is very competitive
today.What role does KBS play, as the public broadcaster? KIM: In this fiercely competitive and increasingly commercial
media world, KBS has made strenuous efforts to ensure fairness and exclude sexually suggestive and violent content. Fairness equals life for a public broadcaster and it requires truth and impartiality. KBS has brought fact-based and objective reporting in a balanced and equitable manner so that viewers are exposed to a diversity of viewpoints. KBS has also carried out its public responsibility as a public broadcaster by eliminating sexually explicit and violent content in the programs, differentiating itself from commercial broadcasters. TV ASIA PACIFIC: You took
over leadership of KBS a year ago—what key strategies did you put in place?
TV ASIA PACIFIC: You have a background in news. How important is news and current affairs to KBS? How do you balance this need to educate the public with the need to provide quality entertainment? KIM: It is true that I, as a news reporter, had concerns about whether to choose a hard and serious news item that better serves public interests and fairness or a soft and entertaining item. Meanwhile, the cultural and intellectual level of our viewers has been elevated. They expect more from television news. When Koreans think of news, they think of KBS News. That drives us to stay committed to fairness and the public good. In addition, viewers nowadays tend to pay more attention to programs that provide various viewpoints and information instead of pursuing light entertainment and soft-news offerings. TV ASIA PACIFIC: The global downturn impacted broad-
casters worldwide. How did KBS hold up with the contractions in the ad market? Are you seeing advertising revenues return? KIM: KBS has made tremendous efforts to overcome financial difficulties by downsizing, freezing salaries, outsourcing non-core areas of work and cutting down expenses. While taking measures to rationalize management, KBS has continued to focus on creating high-quality content. As a result, we have seen some good responses from viewers and an increase in advertising revenues, which put us on track to rise. However, the ad market is expected to see fiercer competition when the Korea Communications Commission [gives the go-ahead for the launch of new cable channels] in the near future. TV ASIA PACIFIC: What other challenges do you face in
financing the organization? KIM: The biggest challenge we face is the unreasonable
television license fee that has been frozen for the last 30 years. The license fee is a major source of revenue for a public broadcaster. Korea’s TV license fee, about US$26 a year, is a ninth of the BBC’s or a seventh of NHK’s—it is the lowest [license fee] in the world in view of [Korea’s] GDP. 40
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Legendary tales: KBS is perhaps best known for its epic historical dramas, such as Guenchogo, The Conqueror.
We cannot ensure financial stability with the current license fee. This could lead to a higher dependence on advertising income, making it hard for a public broadcaster to deliver the values it is committed to. I believe financial independence is just as important as political independence for a noncommercial broadcaster. TV ASIA PACIFIC: You have taken the lead in HD program-
ming.What are your plans for 3D? KIM: To lead the next generation of broadcasting tech-
nologies, KBS has continuously invested in 3D-related research, establishing the 3D technology research center in 2002 and developing 3D cameras in 2003. On May 19 of this year, for the first time ever, we broadcast live the Colorful Daegu Pre-Championships Meeting in 3D. We have also successfully tested terrestrial 3D TV broadcasting in full HD and are demonstrating various programs that will be played during the G20 Seoul Summit.We will do our best to promote stable and organized 3D broadcasting by establishing viewing guidelines to provide 3D content that prioritizes viewers’ safety and setting up strategies such as a 3D content development platform. TV ASIA PACIFIC: What are your other key digital priorities for KBS? KIM: KBS’s mission in the digital arena is to successfully complete digital convergence by 2012—not only digitalizing the production process, but also providing free and universal media options for viewers. Improving the digital broadcasting environment, together with the [creation of] advanced digital broadcasting services like KoreaView, is the responsibility that KBS has for the public in the digital age. We are also working on various new-media strategies that we believe are important in broadening KBS’s window for viewers, by developing creative services in areas such as smart phones and smart TV. 42
TV ASIA PACIFIC: Korean dramas continue to be popular with broadcasters across Asia. What gives KBS dramas their global appeal? KIM: First, most Korean dramas are about romance or family and these types of stories are [relatable for] not only Asians but everyone around the world. Second, the actors. Korean actors have the looks that can appeal to Asian fans. Male actors are usually portrayed as gentle and warm characters in dramas and are especially popular among female fans in other countries. Last is the various genres—romantic comedy, action, thriller, and political stories, satisfying viewers’ various tastes. TV ASIA PACIFIC: What are your broad goals for KBS in the next 12 to 18 months? KIM: We have set our goal as the following: KBS will lead the digital world for 50 million [Koreans]. In order to realize this, we have proposed three major objectives: [to be at] the center of the digital world, the center of viewers’ trust and the center of high-quality content. We are going to accomplish [being] the center of the digital world through completing the digital convergence by 2012, resolving fringe area problems 100 percent, and broadening free universal services. [To be] the center of viewers’ trust, we are planning on increasing fairness and trust, caring for the socially weak, strengthening local broadcasting and reinforcing national crisis management such as disaster broadcasts. We are going to realize [being] the center of highquality content through continuously serving the public good, eliminating commercialism, producing high-quality content, and spreading the “Korean Wave” throughout the world. The Korean people named KBS the most influential and trusted news agency according to the most-trusted public opinion polls. Our goal is to continue to maintain our unparalleled presence over the long term. 12/10
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director of international sales at Globo TV International. “Now we have lots of revenues and we’ve managed the expenses…. Asia, for the licensing division, has been the fastest-growing business in the last three or four years. We have had outstanding numbers.” Telefe International has seen a similar growth spurt. “In 2010 we managed to consolidate our position as one of the three most important Latin distributors” in Asia, reports Guillermo Borensztein, the company’s sales executive for programming and formats in the region. PARTNER POTENTIAL
A key area of growth has been coproductions and formats, particularly in China. Televisa Internacional, for example, after working with Hunan TV on a local version of La fea más bella (Ugly Betty) and with Dragon TV on Jia You,Youya! (based on Dumb Girls Don’t Go to Heaven), has since clinched a deal with CCTV for a local co-production of Distilling Love, which recently aired on the Chinese state broadcaster. And this summer, Telefe International announced a partnership with Shanghai Media Group (SMG) to co-produce the telenovela Heartbeats. Televisa’s Timeless Love. “Telefe took a slightly different route, investing more than know-how and crafting an original script for China with the monitoring of Argentinean producers and directors, among others,” says Borensztein on the SMG deal. Pre-production on the show is complete, with a cast in place, production sets in Shanghai and scripts that are pending approval by state regulator SARFT. Borensztein expects Heartbeats to serve as a model for Telefe’s future business in Asia, with India a likely candidate for a similar co-production effort. Telefe has also sold scripted novela formats into Indonesia and Malaysia. “Audiences today are demanding stories [told] by local actors…universal stories with proven success but [considered] as local.”
Asian Love Affair Despite stiff competition from locally produced series, Latin American novelas continue to find new audiences across Asia. By Mansha Daswani It’s taken some time, but distributors of Latin American novelas are finally beginning to see healthy returns on their investments into boosting business in Asia. “Four years ago, our Asian business was expenses, expenses, expenses, and very low revenues,” says Raphael Corrêa Netto, 44
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Matters of the heart: Telefe is looking to further expand its business in Asia with offerings like Secrets of Love.
Caracol Television is also eyeing opportunities to partner with Asian broadcasters as it builds its novela format business, notes sales executive Berta Orozco. “The Vietnamese adaptation of Roman x 2 will be airing in early 2011,” she says, adding, “It would be very interesting to do a co-production in Asia with one of our titles or even use some Asian talent, too.” Globo TV International has only recently begun coproducing on an international level, working with partners in the U.S., Mexico and Portugal. An Asian territory will likely soon be on the list, says Corrêa Netto. “Once we feel more comfortable and are prepared to add value to the local partner, I think Asia would be a perfect match [for a co-production]. We don’t believe in generating value just by selling the scripts. In a co-production, you can exchange experience, exchange know-how and create a local product that is attractive to the local audience.”
Paradise City and the 2009 winner of the International Emmy for best telenovela, India: A Love Story, portions of which were filmed on location in the Subcontinent. Globo’s goal, Corrêa Netto says, is to keep expanding its Asian reach, with the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong as his priorities for the coming year. “These are markets that are becoming more mature and they are opening alternative distribution channels for novelas that we would like to put efforts on.”
TAKING A TOUR
While format sales and co-pros are picking up steam, the licensing of completed telenovelas remains the bread-and-butter business for Latin American distributors in Asia. As they head to the Asia TV Forum (ATF) this December, sellers are focused on maintaining their presence in established novela markets like the Philippines, while growing their reach into new territories. Globo, for example, has made headway into territories such as Korea and China, Corrêa Netto explains, as well as Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan. “We still see the telenovela genre as a key programming tool, especially in South Korea, India, Singapore and Mongolia.” At ATF, Globo will be showcasing its new coproduction with TV Azteca, Between Love and Desire, as well as Seize the Day, Watercolors of Love, 46
Three’s company: Comarex has found Asian success with classic telenovelas, such as Torn Apart.
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China is also a key focus, with Globo already having licensed Shades of Sin into the territory a few years ago and, more recently, the short-run novela Seven Women to CCTV-8. The notoriously difficult Chinese media market does present its own set of challenges, Corrêa Netto adds, from the need to shorten series—a move that is not required in Indonesia, Singapore, Macau or other markets, he says—to adapting to local censorship regulations. “In China, we do have to do an extra job in terms of [making] the programmers more comfortable with what they are buying. The presale effort is deeper and stronger than you would have to do somewhere else.” NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL
Driving forward: Globo, which is showcasing Seize the Day at ATF, has seen tremendous growth in Asia over the last few years.
In building their Asian businesses, novela distributors are also coming to terms with the vastly differing preferences across the region. “Each country, depending on the languages and beliefs, demands different content,” says Telefe’s Borensztein. “In the north of Asia, the period novelas are very much welcomed, while in Southeast Asia, they are looking for very contemporary, modern telenovelas,” notes Globo’s Corrêa Netto. “At the end of the day, it’s a very open market for the telenovela genre, and for Globo’s novelas. Globo’s productions have a unique language, look and feel.
It’s a genre within a genre. The market has opened itself to our novelas—whether they are period stories or contemporary ones.” For Comarex, classic novelas, such as The Force of Destiny, have been the big sellers, according to the head of sales for Asia, Martha Contreras, “due to their story lines and their inspirational and light stories [that] are suitable for all the Asian regions.” On offer at ATF will be Daniela, which Contreras has high hopes for, and the teen series Grachi, plus Torn Apart and a new telenovela, Running From Destiny. She expects to continue doing business in the key territories of Southeast Asia, India and China, as well as Malaysia and Thailand, “where we have been on air continuously for the past seven years.” Caracol lists among its Asian hits the classic novelas Gabriela, Turns of Destiny and Luna, The Heiress, plus the drug-trafficking series The Cartel, according to Orozco. Business has been brisk in Indonesia, China and Vietnam, but Orozco sees Caracol’s titles having appeal across the region, and she is looking to up the company’s presence in the Philippines and Korea. At Telefe,Vietnam and China are emerging as key clients, with the company already having developed a track record in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. “Vietnam is a booming territory for ready-made programs,” Borensztein says, not-
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Local faces: Televisa worked with Hunan TV on an adaptation of Ugly Betty, called Ugly Wudi.
Perfect pairing: One of Caracol’s big hits in Asia has been Gabriela, Turns of Destiny.
ing that The Successful Mr. and Mrs. Pells has been a huge hit in the country. “We’ve managed to adapt our telenovelas in territories like Malaysia and Indonesia and now it seems as if India and China are moving towards Telefe’s scripted dramas for local adaptations and co-productions.” Borensztein adds that the pool of novela buyers is much more diverse today than it has been in the past. The nature of the stories in demand, however, continues to be “aspirational” tales that can “entertain and educate at the same time.” At ATF, Telefe will be showcasing the new telenovela Cain & Abel, as well as Secrets of Love, WAGs, Love for the Game and the teen show The Resistance. Televisa also has a broad mix, including Triumph of Love, Teresa, Timeless Love, Marriage Diaries and Fill Me with Love. As distributors look to expand their reach, a major challenge is the local competition; Korean daily series are seeing continued demand region-wide, the Philippines has become a major exporter of soaps and Indian airwaves are ruled by Hindilanguage serials. At Globo, Corrêa Netto says it’s best not to view these shows are competitors. “Local production is far ahead of us,” he concedes. “It’s like comparing a telenovela from Europe 50
and how it would compete in Latin America against the Latin novelas. In terms of business positioning and product positioning, [we have to offer] something complementary, rather than something that is straight-ahead competition by itself. It has to be like we’re trying to offer an alternative to Asian viewers.” MORE THAN NOVELAS
Globo has, however, broadened its portfolio in order to cater to a wider pool of Asian clients. “Our entry into new markets [in Asia] was supported by the fact that we do have a very strong diversified catalogue of programs—telenovelas or series or comedies or documentaries.” As such, Globo is complementing its ATF slate of novelas with the police drama Internal Affairs, the modern fairy tale Once in a Blue Moon, the comedy The Cleaning Lady and the seven-part GloboDOC series, plus several unscripted formats. Televisa, too, is showcasing some entertainment formats for Asian buyers, notably Decades, while Telefe, which has already seen success in the region with family game shows, has 3, 2, 1 Let’s Win! and Just in Time to offer at ATF. Caracol, meanwhile, has licensed Telenovela Star to be adapted in Malaysia. At Comarex, Contreras cites La Academia as a key offering outside of the novela arena. “The family entertainment and interactive reality show in search for the next super popstar has been an incredible success in Southeast Asia,” she notes. With their broad slates, Latin distributors are feeling upbeat as they head to Singapore. “ATF is a very important market for us, as it gives us the opportunity to meet up with the most important players in the region,” Contreras says. “We are eager to present our new titles and shows.” Caracol’s Orozco is looking forward to the opportunity to “develop fruitful partnerships with colleagues and clients and to continue positioning ourselves in the international market. This personal contact with people is crucial.” Borensztein says the Telefe sales team is committed to “improving our presence in an area whose potential is unpredictable and unlimited. Asia has become synonymous with opportunity more than ever before!” 12/10
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Malaysia’s Astro has emerged as one of Asia’s leading payTV platforms. COO Henry Tan tells TV Asia Pacific about how the company is catering to its subscribers with relevant content and advanced services like HD and VOD.
Henry Tan By Mansha Daswani Celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2011, Malaysian platform Astro today reaches half of the country’s TV households with 128 channels—more than 30 of which are Astrobranded. With Malaysia’s diverse mix of cultures and languages, offering up a varied slate is crucial, according to the platform’s COO, Henry Tan. “It is common to find two to three generations living in the same household in Malaysia, thus adding to the complexities in programming and packaging,” Tan says. “Our ongoing challenge is to better understand our customer, our customer trends and our customer content needs so that these can be translated into an appealing value proposition as well as relevant products and services. Today we look at our customers from a household perspective. Going forward, we are looking at the changing Malaysian demographics, [and the] evolution of consumer trends and 52
realizing that it is not about a household anymore but about individuals within the households—for example, the father, mother, son, daughter and grandparents may all have different viewing needs and preferred devices to get their content.” Technological innovation has become Astro’s mandate as digitization sweeps across the region, Tan notes, citing the launch last year of its Astro B.yond service. Subscribers to Astro B.yond can access ten HD channels, with more on the planner. And in June of this year, Astro introduced a PVR box, the first in Malaysia. “We are on track to offer other innovative services like VOD and IP connectivity, and all these will make us ready to serve the digital generation.” Content innovation has also been one of Tan’s priorities, with an emphasis on both international and local fare. “We aim to bring the best of Malay, the best of Chinese and best of Indian programming to meet the viewing needs of our customers from diverse cultures and languages,” Tan explains. Sports has been a key focus, with the platform now carrying about a dozen sports networks, two of which, ESPN HD and Astro SuperSport, are in high definition. Astro offers up live coverage of English Premier League action, among other international tournaments, and this year carried all 64 matches live from the World Cup across ten different channels. The final was aired in 3D, says Tan, a first in Malaysian broadcast history. Beyond entertainment, Tan notes that Astro has committed to educational initiatives, among them Kampus Astro. “Through Kampus Astro, we hope to change the perception of Malaysian consumers that Astro is only about entertainment,” he says. “Through our learning channels, Astro TVIQ and Astro Xiao Tai Yang, with science, math content and languages, we hope to help students learn better. Most recently, Astro launched Tutor TV to help students revise for the exams.” On the roster for 2011 are additional HD networks, as well as a “next-generation Astro B.yond box which will deliver PVR and VOD functionality, as well as IP connectivity. We will leverage our Astro platform to deliver satellite DTH, IPTV,VOD, online, mobile and other advanced services from a single unified infrastructure, providing customers with a new viewing experience on the Astro B.player online and on mobile applications.” Tan adds, “Innovation has always been and will continue to be the driving force behind every facet of our business, from developing content to leveraging cutting-edge technology for operational excellence and rolling out quality customer experiences. Looking beyond, we will continue to deliver sustainable growth by constantly refreshing and customizing our content while we introduce compelling products and services that are relevant to the lifestyle needs of our customers.” 12/10
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By Mansha Daswani
Founded in 1996, MSC Malaysia is a government-backed initiative to raise the profile of the country’s content and technology sector on the global stage. Overseen by the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), MSC Malaysia has been fostering co-productions and offering up financing and training for local content houses, many of which are in the animation sector. Badlisham Ghazali, MDeC’s CEO since 2006, tells TV Asia Pacific about the gains made by the organization and the tremendous growth he sees ahead.
with international companies to co-develop and co-own IP for the global market. The fund will target about 15 projects over 2009-2010, with the potential of employing over 600 creative workers. MDeC also offers other funding incentives, such as eContent Fund, Network Content Development Grant,The Film Art and Multimedia Development Fund, Graduate Trainee Programme, IP Grant Scheme and more. MDeC, in conjunction with FINAS and SKMM, is also responsible for taking a large group of Malaysian companies around the world to markets such as MIPCOM, MIPTV, ATF, HK Filmart, TIFFCOM, AFM and SICAF. Approximately 20 percent to 30 percent of MSC Malaysia’s more than 200 entertainment and media companies are animation studios.
Multimedia Development Corporation’s
Badlisham Ghazali TV ASIA PACIFIC: What advantages does Malaysia offer as a co-production partner? GHAZALI: The wide range of investment and support offered by the Malaysian government to international co-productions [is a major advantage]. Malaysia has a rich creative talent pool, supported by a number of creative institutions in the country. The talent is multilingual, speaking English and the common ethnic languages, with a growing proficiency in Japanese and Korean. The country also has a friendly environment and shares a similar culture with the West. As a world-class media hub, Malaysia can offer producers high-quality development and production values at a fraction of the usual production costs. Malaysia also has excellent studios, production facilities and talent, which can deliver state-of-the-art visual effects for world-class productions. TV ASIA PACIFIC: How has MDeC been supporting Malaysia’s content producers? GHAZALI: MSC Malaysia companies receive affordable funding, access to infrastructure and support, up to ten years of corporate tax breaks and more than 70 other Malaysian government funds/incentives. MDeC aims to increase the number of made-in-Malaysia projects available for sale and acquisition globally and generate creative IPs and creative/technical skills. One fund worth mentioning in particular is the Co-Production Funding initiative, which has RM75 million (approximately $23.7 million) available to assist MSC Malaysia companies in working 54
TV ASIA PACIFIC: What challenges does Malaysia face as it
continues to expand its production capabilities? GHAZALI: Malaysia faces the same challenges as other
global media hubs; as the demand for quality content increases and international companies look to enter into co-production projects with local studios, [the country] must constantly train and expand its talent pool and upgrade its studios and facilities to ensure that it can compete in the global market and increase the level of funds available to put back into the industry. Another challenge is that although the Malaysian market is growing, it’s not yet big enough for animators to sustain themselves. Also, traditionally speaking, the level of demand among local networks, financial institutions and the general public for animation work is not as high as, say, in the United States, Canada, Europe, Korea and Japan. However, the rise in international co-productions places Malaysia on the world stage and this will change the public perception of the animation industry. Also, privateventure capitalists and financial institutions are gradually allocating massive financial schemes for film and animation projects. TV ASIA PACIFIC: What are your goals for Malaysia’s ani-
mation sector in the next year? GHAZALI: Over this year, Malaysia has been actively
looking for five to seven more co-production opportunities with foreign producers, as the Malaysian government has been able to consider a grant amount of $1 million to $1.5 million to the Malaysian applicant company. This will result in many more animated properties available for distr ibution and acquisition in the next two years. Meanwhile, Malaysian studios such as Les’ Copaque Production, Animasia Studio, Backbone Entertainment and Young Jump Animation are building their own animation training modules, programs to help improve productivity and train more local talent to master animation skills. The incentives for producers to work with Malaysian companies [show that] we are looking to establish Malaysia as one of the most attractive and competitive Asian media hubs for the production of 2D and 3D animated content. 12/10
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By Mansha Daswani
The Asia-Pacific division at Comcast International Media Group has become one of the biggest contributors to the company’s global business. Christine Fellowes, regional managing director, discusses with TV Asia Pacific the strengths of the business.
to acknowledge there’s a big interest in local celebrities as well,” Fellowes explains. “It’s also about seeing Hollywood through an Asian lens.” And while E! in Asia follows the Hollywood theme set by its U.S. parent, the tone of the channel is somewhat different. “The humor is a really important part of what the brand is all about in the States. In Asia it’s more aspirational and glamour and movie stars. In the States, it’s funny and edgy and pop—there’s a real nuance, even though it is the same brand and it’s all the same personality.” Localizing the channel has become even more important now that E! has a regional ad-sales business in place. “We’re starting to get traction” on the effort, Fellowes says. “We see this as an opportunity for people who want to buy into our environment. People want to have that association with celebrity and glamour.” Where E!’s ad sales have truly taken off, Fellowes explains, is on the Australian feed.“Australia is a massive success story for us. Australia encapsulates the way we see business. We have this really strong brand, with killer programs.We don’t see ourselves as being a destination appointment to view the channel, we see ourselves as [a place where] people can dip into that world and we’re perfectly positioned. We launched on the digital tier and our brands tend to be the right thing for digital. Our model is very different than an analogue model.We can window according to what’s going on in the marketplace. We have this amazing branded presence that is kicking it out of the park in terms of ad sales, with really significant year-on-year growth. We launched an online business and we’re selling ads across both. We do a mobile business with Vodafone and Telstra. And then we have an on-demand business and a DVD business. And we syndicate to free to air. So we have this multilayered [business] going.” While E! is CIMG’s most well-established channel in Asia, it’s not the only one seeing growth across the region.The Style Network rolled out last year and has just added an ad-sales business in Australia. Golf Channel is also attracting the interest of operators and has scored carriage across Asia. On the program-sales side, meanwhile, Fellowes is finding brisk demand for CIMG’s entertainment and lifestyle fare. Indeed, the company recently announced the sale of some 400 hours across the Asia Pacific. Premier Media Group in Australia went for the format of Web Soup and is launching a local version with two hosts. Seven Network took on seasons one through three of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. In China, CCTV picked up episodes of The E! True Hollywood Story, while in Malaysia, 8TV licensed the E! Extreme Close-Up specials on Twilight. Living Channel in New Zealand snapped up three seasons of The Style Network’s Ruby. A number of E! titles are headed to the Philippines, where Velvet picked up The Soup, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and The E! True Hollywood Story, among others, while Lifestyle Network opted for a range of titles from The Style Network. CIMG has also seen demand for programming from the Golf Channel,Versus and G4.“We’re delighted to see a growing interest in our male-skewed and sports-related titles from G4,Versus and Golf Channel,” Fellowes adds. At Asia TV Forum, highlights include E!’s The Spin Crowd;The Style Network’s Style Star, Mel B: It’s a Scary World and Jerseylicious; and G4’s That’s Tough.
Comcast’s Christine Fellowes
From well-known channel brands across the region (with a nascent, but growing, ad-sales model) to a thriving program-sales business, CIMG Asia-Pacific is firing on all cylinders. The flagship E! brand is the most well-established, with the channel in virtually every major market—excluding India and Japan.Those territories, Fellowes notes, require a local partnership, as did Korea, where CIMG works with broadcaster SBS on a dedicated Korean E! feed. These are markets, Fellowes notes, with entertainment and celebrity cultures that are heavily local—while also having regional and international appeal. Keenly aware of the appetite for news out of entertainment hubs like Mumbai, Seoul and Tokyo, E! has launched its first local production in the region, E! News Asia. “The E! brand is Hollywood, but as we become bigger in a market, we have 56
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