Video content creation has become a US$10 billion industry across India, Korea and Southeast Asia, home to some of Asia’s most important production hubs. Each territory offers unique opportunities and challenges for content creators and distributors, as competitive dynamics are reshaped by increased choice and competition. Media Partners Asia’s Stephen Laslocky evaluates key drivers for TV, online video and movie investment across this varied landscape, as content budgets continue to grow.
China’s content boom has created unprecedented opportunities for investment in entertainment. Production is at a record high and Chinese TV series and movies have a whole new profile around the world. At the same time, the country remains a magnet for Asian as well as global talent, Chinese authorities are backing an unprecedented international agenda, and nimble deal making is keeping more international players on their toes. The challenges include the evolution of regulations, fast-forward time lines, and sometimes incompatible processes. Frank Zhu, Chief Executive of Shanghai-based Pearl Studio, talks about the space between the rampant opportunity and dramatic shifts in a market where animated films have $100 million budgets, and where challenges are as common as ambitious dreams of fortune, and enthusiasm for local partnerships is as high as the push for cross-border content investment and development.
Philippines’ broadcaster ABS-CBN spent US$222 million (Ps11,834 million) on production last year, including shows such as long-running drama series "Brothers" and the local version of talent format "Your Face Sounds Familiar". Titles travelled widely across Asia, with a significant presence in Africa and landfall made in Latin America and Europe, driving international syndication revenue up 38%. On YouTube, ABS-CBN’s entertainment channel has 11.5 million followers. Against this backdrop, Filipino film and television director, writer and producer, Ruel Bayani, talks about production trends and challenges, inspiration and influences.
Crazy Rich Asians is a global tipping point for Asian tales and characters, and demand for stories with global appeal is bound to soar as a result. Behind the scenes, the effort to drive more diverse casting and promote broader representation of Asian talent on a greater number of international productions has been going on for years. Often called Japan’s top starmaker and the country’s “Ambassador to Hollywood”, Japanese producer, casting director, writer and director, Yoko Narahashi, talks about the evolution in consciousness, culture and casting from before she worked alongside Steven Spielberg on "Empire of the Sun", through to persuading Edward Zwich to look at Ken Watanabe for "The Last Samurai" to casting Mutsuhiro Watanabe in Angelina Jolie’s "Unbroken".
65 million people spend 22 billion minutes a month on Wattpad, reading and writing stories in 50+ languages on a platform that has, so far, raised more than US$117 million from international investors, including China’s Tencent. The story-telling platform’s Asia head, Dexter Ong, talks about Asian writers’ participation in a global movement, what young and not-so-young storytellers in the region care enough about to share, what deploying machine learning to drive engagement and data to boost development really means, and how Wattpad is working with broadcasters, studios and brands to create double/triple-dip hits.
Measuring viewership across four-screens has pushed up audience numbers for drama by more than 100% in some parts of the world. Documentary and reality audiences are also up by more than 80% in markets where measurement has evolved from live to live+time-shifted. Eurodata’s APAC head, Bo Zhang, looks at the impact of four-screen viewing and measurement on certain genres along with insights into the impact that original programming from Asia is making in other parts of the world.
Hulu Japan celebrates its 7th anniversary in Japan in a few days, with the clock ticking on the premiere its first Russian drama, zombie series "The Day After", and still basking in the halo effect of original show "Miss Sherlock", which was the platform’s first co-production with HBO Asia. Employee number one, chief content officer Kazufumi Nagasawa, talks about hunting down titles from untapped catalogues to follow Australia’s "Wentworth", Turkey’s "Magnificent Century" and Spain’s "Locked Up", the advantages of joint rights acquisition, and how he’s dealing with the looming challenge of rivals such as Amazon Prime Video.
VICE collected the keys to its Asia Pacific HQ office a little over six months ago. What’s happened since? A slate of feature films with Indonesian ride-sharing company Go-Jek, a hip hop documentary and sex series out of the freshly baked Mumbai-based India operation, and the official launch of creative agency VIRTUE in Singapore, Sydney and Seoul. What hasn’t happened yet? A regional nucleus that unites the best of VICE in a single destination, and a few other things. VICE Asia Pacific’s CEO, Hosi Simon, reflects on the wins and challenges for VICE in this part of the world.
A tour de force of the global state of misinformation & propaganda, what newsrooms are doing, and where everyone else should be looking for accuracy. This session explores how fake news jeopardises the very concept of journalism and outlines the vision and capabilities of collaborative verification platforms such as Truly Media, co-developed by Deutsche Welle.
ContentAsia’s deep dive into trends, influences, and what’s really happening with formats creation, adoption and adaptation on the ground in Asia. The latest findings show that Thailand drew ahead of Vietnam as Asia’s formats leader in the first half of this year with a 26% increase in the number of formats on air, in production or commissioned for broadcast in 2018/9. While the shift in fortunes is a significant win for Thailand, it also heralds a major retreat in Vietnam, traditionally Asia’s highest volume formats market. Overall, the formats acquisition business in the region shrank by 12%, from 285 titles in the first six months of 2017 to 251 this year. Of the 15 countries covered in our study, eight were down, five were up and two (Singapore and Sri Lanka) were level with last year.
Tech that's promising to solve the choke points in programming rights distribution, why blockchain is (or isn't) the answer right now (or ever), and how the challenges between now and the future are being taken on.
Cartoon Network takes to the oceans in Asia for the first time at the end of this year on an 11-deck fully themed cruise liner, promising the world’s first immersive Toon vacation at sea. Then there’s Tuzki, Turner’s made-in-China rabbit emoticon, who has her own restaurants, WeChat celebrity status, and an animated film with streaming platform Tencent. Elsewhere in animation land, Singapore-based One Animation has licensed its flagship TV property, Oddbods, globally and has more than 2.5 million subscribers to its YouTube channel. Oddbods is now going to China in an eight-year deal for 15 family entertainment centres. This session looks at these and other just- signed ventures that that are expanding their worlds, creating new ways to engage fans, delivering additional revenue, and contributing to a bigger/better ecosystem for their IP in the region.
New leadership at A+E Networks Asia means a switch in approach and focus on, well, everything in the toughest linear environment channels in the region have ever faced. Southeast Asia/Australia managing director, Leena Singarajah, outlines what she’s thinking and doing to reshape products and energise activity around consumer brands, starting with Lifetime.
Tough is as tough does for Sony Pictures Television Networks’ new Asia SVP/GM, Virginia Lim. As the global organisation restructures, Lim talks about the inevitable re-engineering of entertainment products, strengthening ties with existing partners and breaking new ground with others, as well as balancing IP/rights so that everyone along the value chain gets what they need to be viable. She doesn’t, she says, have all the answers. But she’s tough enough to ask the questions.
The new linear world is emerging as a streamlined environment with clear genre propositions, an effort to drive up value, an element of on-demand/playlists, a revised partnership manual, and an expanded set of content brands. This session looks at the adjusted reality, including the opportunities opening up for indie services, the challenges facing new players, a new balance between cost and value, and other issues standing between the now and the future.