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Web spins plans for o’seas trade

Hits like 'Holland' have hold on Chinese viewers

SINGAPORE — Dominant broadcaster MediaCorp TV is looking beyond Singapore for new outlets for its homegrown productions.

Singapore’s former monopoly holder scores big at home with Chinese-lingo shows such as the marathon 100-episode drama “Holland V,” which just claimed a 22.1% rating, an estimated 86% of Chinese viewers.

“Major factors (of this success) include local relevance and interesting storylines and characters,” says Chang Long Jong, CEO of MediaCorp Studios.

As for export potential, MediaCorp Studios now claims production standards to rival those of established content providers from Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“About 80% to 90% of our content travels well to Malaysia,” says Chang. “We also sell our programs to Southeast Asia, China and Taiwan. Examples include ‘Fantasy’ to Indonesia, ‘Palm of Ru Lai’ to Thailand, ‘Madam White Snake’ and ‘Dare to Strike’ to China and ‘Moon Fairy’ to Taiwan. There are also interests to buy our longest serial, ‘Holland V’, for markets like Indonesia.”

But with local relevance and local artistes cited as two major factors in local prods’ popularity, content buyers have their doubts.

“Many Singapore stars are still unknown and domestic dramas too locally rooted, but period stuff travels well,” says a Hong-Kong based TV consultant. “There’s also a lot of popular content produced here, so Hong Kong tends to export more TV than it imports — ironically to markets like Singapore.”