Diverse Star has plenty of slots to fill

Territory report: Hong Kong

HONG KONG — English-language pay channel Star World is going to Mipcom with an open mind — an advantage when you’re in more than 50 markets.

“We are looking for all forms of content,” says Ross Crowley, senior VP of programming for News Corp.’s media and entertainment company Star, adding that if a program doesn’t suit one country, it might suit another.

In particular, the channel will look at reality (“But good reality is hard to come by,” Crowley adds) and firstrun dramas. Around six people from acquisitions and six from sales will be attending the confab.

Shows that have done well for the channel are talent skeins such as “American Idol” and “Rock Star.” Star World tends to air lighter, more upbeat fare. Auds for Star World “don’t expect heavy journalism, but who’s marrying who,” Crowley says.

While Crowley jokes that prices per episode for American shows were “too much,” he does add that it’s “competitive at the moment” and budgets are always there for good programming.

He also says the output of American and British programming has “skyrocketed” beyond the capacity of English channels in Asia, which means channels here will be more focused.

About 75% of Star World’s programming hails from America with the remaining 25% varying week to week between British and other European.

Television Broadcasts Ltd.’s English-language Pearl also has money available for good programming. A spokeswoman says this is directly reflected in their ratings: Most of the top 100 programs on local English channels are on TVB Pearl.

TVB is the dominant free-to-air broadcaster in Hong Kong. The most popular shows have been “America’s Next Top Model,” “Lost,” “24,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Monk,” “Nip/ Tuck” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

Four people from TVB will be attending Mipcom, the same number as last year.

While most of the programming on TVB Pearl is in English, a government regulation requires 20% of programming be non-English. One way to help satisfy this requirement is scheduling Japanese or Korean dramas at 9:30 p.m. on Mondays. Currently, “Proof of the Man,” a Japanese suspense detective drama, is airing.

TOP 3 SHOWS
1. “America’s Next Top Model,” TVB Pearl
2. “Human Trafficking,” TVB Pearl
3. “24,” TVB Pearl

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