First a couple of things we noticed right off the bat at this year’s Asia TV Forum (ATF), which ran from December 3-6:

  • The confusion about whether this year’s pre-market day on December 3rd was going to be a market day (as was implied on the event’s Web site).  As it turned out, it was indeed a pre-market, conference-only day.
  • As usual, Singapore is in the full swing with its Christmas spirit, with this city-state completely taken over by decorations and nativities. American songs and jingles played everywhere, including Chinese restaurants.

However, this multi cultural Asian shopping paradise is not waiting for the arrival of the King of Israel, but for the much anticipated return of TV content’s kings: the North American distributors.

Signs are promising: Among the newly seen exhibitors there are 9 Story, Nelvana, Paramount, Starz and Sony. And returning companies such as GRB, Affred Haber, Breakthrough, CBS Studios and A+E. Plus, the London-based North American companies such as Lionsgate, DreamWorks, NBC Universal and Hasbro.

The official figures were also promising: Over 4,000 attendees from 60 countries representing 1,126 companies, of which 553 are sellers and 573 are buyers. In effect one can safely state that the ratio buyers/sellers is 1:1.

The 14th Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), which was held in conjunction with ScreenSingapore 2013, was officially opened by Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, minister of Communications and Information, on the 4th.

This year, the exhibition floor officially opened at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. as in the past, giving space and prominence to a large number of conferences (there were 28 in total). The practice of give more space to conferences is a tactic now used by many trade show organizers to increase the number of participants without necessarily improving the buyer/seller ratio.

However, on the floor, exhibitors seemed unaware of the 10 a.m. opening bell and by 9:30 a.m. they were in full swing with meetings and a very good start: corridors were busy and stands full of buyers.

But the focus at Asia TV Forum is not just on the local TV sector; the whole city-state seems to be concerned with America. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, loose monetary policies in the U.S. have encouraged a build up of debt among households and companies in Singapore.

There were two new initiatives at this year’s event — ATF Animation Lab and MIPACADEMY. ATF Animation Lab is a matchmaking platform between Asian animation producers and international commissioners, which aims to facilitate co-production, funding and networking. Producers of short-listed projects pitched to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, BBC Worldwide, The Walt Disney Company and many others.

MIPACADEMY was a full day of master classes targeted at TV producers and executives. The classes covered everything from concept creation to pitching to brand building.

ScreenSingapore, which is held concurrently with Asia TV Forum, saw several world film premieres, including Hong Kong blockbuster Firestorm, which also included a red-carpet event, and Sino-French co-production The Nightingale, which made its Southeast Asia premiere at ScreenSingapore, in conjunction with the 3rd Rendezvous with French Cinema.

More extensive ATF coverage will be found in VideoAge’s January Issue.