Technology, strong economies, pump attendance
Asian TV companies focused on their technological strengths at December’s Asian Television Forum in Singapore, with many execs pointing to 3D TV as the way forward.A bevy of booths had 3D screens with glasses on offer, and the event hosted, among other themes, a 3D TV seminar exploring the impact of the technology on home entertainment and how to control piracy in the 3D market. The Fashion TV channel used the event, themed Above and Beyond, to announce that it is ramping up 3D content. The network, which has just finished filming the fashion weeks in Milan and Paris in high-def 3D, plans to create more than 40 hours of 3D content a year for its FTV HD channel and video-on-demand service. “This is the first step ahead of launching a full 3D HD channel” next fall, said Fashion TV founder, prexy and CEO Michel Adam Lisowski. Based in France, Fashion TV is available in 193 countries. The Asia-Pacific region has weathered the global slowdown better than any other region — Singapore is expected to register 15% economic growth this year, making it the fastest-growing major economy in the world. This was reflected in the buoyant atmosphere at the confab, which ran Dec. 8-10. Lui Tuck Yew, Singapore’s minister for information, communication and the arts, cited research from In-Stat 1 stating that the Asia-Pacific region now accounts for more than half the world’s 750 million pay-TV-subscriber population. “More than ever before, the global television industry is looking to the Asia-Pacific region to lead international growth,” he said. There were some 2,600 participants from 850 companies in 50 countries at the event, up 15% on 2009, according to organizer Reed Exhibitions, and 150 companies were there for the first time. There were a record 13 national pavilions at the show, with China’s four pavilions heavily attended. It was China’s first time at the event, which created considerable excitement among sales execs. China has a viewership of 1.2 billion, with each person watching for an average 172 minutes per day. There are nearly 300 public TV stations, offering some 3,000 channels. All in all, 140 million families use cable TV. This makes it a great market to sell content into. However, growing sophistication in the Chinese TV market means that there has also been a strong rise in thenumber of original productions by domestic stations and media groups. Content management and delivery company GlobeCast, a subsidiary of France Telecom, has partnered with Shanghai Media Group to provide a one-stop broadcast production and transmission service from China to serve the needs of international China-based broadcasters. GlobeCast Asia CEO Darby Sanchez said this simply shows how crucial the Chinese market is. “It is a start of the building of a vibrant digital ecosystem in China,” Sanchez said. “Together, SMG’s domestic capabilities coupled with GlobeCast’s global network facilitates the ease of collaboration in content delivery workflows.” GlobeCast received queries at the confab from companies seeking to get content distributed in China. “There are also queries from producers with Chinese animation content subtitled in French and other languages looking to tap new audiences,” Sanchez said. “The anticipation and energy from our clients in doing business with China is high.” Other first-timer nations included Finland and Japan. South Korea took two pavilions while others showcased the Malaysian, Singaporean and Taiwanese TV industries. Europe remains strong in the Asian TV market, with the French and Italian pavilions especially busy. Seyeon Lee at Korea Creative Content Agency said the focus for his company was to bring Korean content to European companies as well as traditional Asian targets. MSC Malaysia’s Animasia Studio linked up with Spain’s Neptuno Films for a distribution deal to introduce the 26-episode toon “ABC Monsters” to the European market. Australian Broadcasting Corp. shopped its six-part documentary-style “Unbelievable”; NBC Universal’s Telemundo Intl. brought “Aurora”; and India’s Zee Entertainment Enterprises brought sudser “Pavitra Rishta.” Among deals, BBC Worldwide licensed its “Dancing With the Stars” format to South Korea’s MBC Plus Media, marking the British pubcaster’s first format sale to South Korea. Like Variety, forum organizer Reed Exhibitions is a division of Reed Elsevier.