By Leah Hochbaum

“Hot” may be one word to describe the fourth annual Asia Television Forum (ATF), held November 29 to December 1 at Singapore’s Shangri-La Hotel. From the scorching humidity to the blazing business being done, there was a distinct sizzle in the air.

“The Asia TV Forum makes perfect sense for us,” said Fremantle International Distribution’s Ganesh Rajaram, Sales director, Asia, who came to the market with a sizable line-up that included The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency, a series about the self-proclaimed original supermodel’s quest to find new faces to reign in the modeling arena; Live From Abbey Road, a music series that features live performances of some of the world’s most well-respected artists; and Jamie at Home, a new show about celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. “We have an office based here in Singapore and the bulk of our clients attend the market. We’d like to see the market grow.”

Pedro Font, president of New York-based GMD would too, after noting that Televisa/GMD experienced a 27 percent increase in new business at this year’s ATF over the previous year. “This is a notable improvement,” he said attributing it to the fact that “many territories in Asia continue to be large importers of Televisa’s high-quality content. We would like to congratulate [ATF’s] Ed Ng on an excellent market. We look forward to returning in 2007.”

Dori Media Group is too. “Dori Media is completely devoted to bringing top-rated telenovelas to every corner of the world,” said Silvana D’Angelo, head of International Sales and Marketing at the Argentina office of Israel-based Dori Media Distribution. “One of our major goals is the expansion of the renowned genre of the telenovela to all continents and cultures, including Asian territories.” In fact, the company so sincerely believes in this aim, that it recently opened a new operation base in Manila, in order to be closer to Dori’s Asian clients. “The ATF was an ideal market to officially present our new Manila arm to our customers in this region,” she said.

Yet, while some feel that the market is not really useful, coming on the heels of MIPCOM in Cannes, France, and just before NATPE in Las Vegas, Fremantle’s Rajaram still sees a necessity for it. “The ATF still serves a purpose,” he said. It’s a real opportunity to spend quality time with clients so we can really understand their needs and issues.”

And unlike some, he feels the market is also actually aided by the fact that it happens so soon after MIPCOM. “Our goals here were to continue where we left off at MIPCOM with our clients and close off any outstanding business before year-end, as well as to meet new clients who may not have traveled to MIPCOM. We were successful on both counts.”

Dori Media Group, which attended the market for the first time, concurred that its time spent in Singapore was well worth it. “There are new growing markets in Asia, such as Korea, the Philippines and India, which are demanding top-quality telenovelas,” said D’Angelo. “Dori Media aims to provide the best content for all Asian broadcasters but, especially, to guide them as to how to program these titles so that they can repeat the same success achieved in other countries worldwide, while also encouraging them to produce their own local versions.”

A full report on the Asia TV Forum will be published in VideoAge’s January 2007 issue.