Singapore is a crossroad for all of South East Asia (SEA). This is in addition to its identity as SEA’s financial hub. And, with the Asia TV Forum (ATF) being staged in this city-state, it is hoped that Singapore will also become SEA’s media center, a designation now shared between Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Bomanbridge’s Sonia Fleck is based in Singapore, yet she still has to make regular trips to regional broadcasters since TV content buyers in the area tend to change jobs and positions frequently. Fortunately, the ATF helps her develop new relationships.
Former buyer Wincess Lee Gonzales of Philippines-based ABS-CBN switched from being chased by sellers to doing the chasing. She came to the ATF this year as a seller for the company’s distribution division.
At the three-day ATF, which started on December 5, the SEA region represented the bulk of the exhibitors with 76 companies from Singapore, 72 from South Korea, 59 from Japan, and 52 from China.
Turkey had 22 companies in attendance, of which just seven had their own booths, while the others were under the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce’s umbrella stand. Nonetheless, Turkish companies took the lion’s share of attention and sales. This is not something new; before the Ottoman TV content world’s invasion of the past few years, it was the LATAM companies that dominated ATF’s media presence (LATAM’s presence has now been reduced to three exhibitors from a high of 15). Before that, it was the Western Europeans who carried the show.
In terms of buyers, Singaporean companies generated most of the hype with 40 companies, followed by Indonesia with 38, Hong Kong with 23, and China with 19.
This ATF was busier than other editions, with some new faces seen on the market floor. New this year were Turkey’s Madd Entertainment and Los Angeles-based ACI, while Italy’s RAI Com was back after an absence of several years, and Canada’s Gusto Worldwide Media returned after skipping it for two years.
All the major U.S. studios exhibited, including 20th Century Fox, also represented by top-level marketing executives, and Paramount, with SEA-based executives. While studios like Paramount focused on major Asian buyers, other companies zoomed in on smaller territories.
Content sales in SEA for Kanal D, one of the seven major exhibitors from Turkey, is now overseen by Salmi Gambarova, who, at the ATF, focused on buyers from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei, and Cambodia. To SEA countries, Kanal D delivers content with Turkish-language soundtracks. Local clients then take care of the dubbing. The license fees in the SEA region were said to be too low to justify dubbing by the sellers.
ATV was represented by Muge Akar and Emir Duzel, who noted that markets like Indonesia and Malaysia can be quite challenging. “On the other hand, there are lots of Indian buyers,” said Akar.
MISTCO’s Aysegul Tuzun reported that MISTCO’s animated content was a big hit with Chinese and Korean buyers.
First-timer Madd Entertainment reported meeting with a wide range of buyers, including those from Myanmar and Bangladesh.