The fact that this year’s Singapore-based ATF began on November 28 — much earlier than past editions — meant that visitors were not subject to endless shopping-inducing Christmas carols in every corner of this city-state.

Nevertheless, some shopping was done, but mostly for TV content, and it was restricted to the Marina Bay Sands Convention Center, where the 18th edition of the four-day ATF market took place.

“We saw a lot of new buyers,” commented Global Agency’s Isil Türksen. “There were also interesting conferences, which I could attend yesterday [November 28], but not today. With the market open, all my time is now taken by meetings with buyers.”

Typically at the ATF, sales executives from exhibiting companies manage to meet with at least 25 buyers during the two-day period.

Among the conferences, there were two interesting panels. The first one, about advertising, showed that television advertising numbers are strong, because “great content will really stand out now,” according to speaker Ranji David.

The second one, which focused on social media, was titled “Some Inconvenient Truths,” and was hosted by Jan Rezab, an analyst who focused on print media, rather than TV. But his data could also be useful to content providers, since he separated social media’s good share (like Facebook) from traffic (which is going to platforms like Instagram).

Browsing through official figures, the ATF welcomed 5,400 industry professionals, including distributors from 750 exhibiting companies that also encompassed a record 24 country pavilions. There was a total number of 54 countries represented at the market and conference.

The ATF Event Directory listed buyers from 28 countries and exhibitors from 41, including Roxanne Barcelona and Paolo Laurena from the Philippines’ GMA Worldwide (pictured above).

For onsite registrants, ATF organizers offered a on-day pass for December 1 at SG$400 (U.S.$300), versus SG$1,380 (U.S.$1,026) for all-access badges. Single-day conference passes for November 29-December 1 were also available at SG$300.

The ATF tends to be Singapore-centric, with lots of attention given to local politicians and government officials.

Ultimately, however, for content sales, the Asian region remains challenging, mainly due to the diversity in programming needs from one territory to the next. Budget limitations and the abundance of regionally produced content are also limiting factors to the success in licensing Western content in Asia as a whole.