On November 17, organizers of the Asia TV Forum (ATF), which is set for December 1-3, 2021 in Singapore, sent a list of buyer and seller contacts that we at VideoAge had much earlier requested of them. For an event that is supposed to begin just 13 days later, that’s really cutting things down to the wire, especially considering that it’s immediately preceded by two holidays, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.

A few days later, VideoAge also received a request to be interviewed about the ATF from a Turkish distribution company, indicating that exhibitors were also late in making a decision as to whether or not to participate.

Among the buyers, Krishi Dutt, director at India’s VR Films & Studios, expressed the view that both the market and seminar elements will have equal prominence at the ATF. In November 2021 VR Films launched VROTT, its own OTT platform, and the ATF market will be good for finding “international content [to dub] in Hindi and other Indian regional languages.”

To Işıl Türkşen, Sales director, Asia & Baltics, for Turkey’s Global Agency, “ATF organizers have been very helpful and attentive during the preparation process. Although, hopefully we will be back in Singapore next year at a realtime market, since digital connections do not replace and are not as effective as in-person networking.” She also added: “The market section and online meetings are very useful, but the seminar section is also a great resource.”

Finally, according to Sonia Fleck, CEO of Singapore-based content distribution company, Bomanbridge, “2020/2021 have certainly allowed executives to take more time to listen more attentively to seminars, and the quality and discussion has become more substantial. Previously, physical attendance was often full with meetings, and time was limited.” As for the ATF, Fleck said that “[it] seems to be right on the fringe of a cautiously hopeful period where we see vaccinated travel lanes opening. Asia is going through an incredibly transformative period in media with so much IP development, so whether it is digital or live, a lot of collaboration is underway,” and she concluded that next December 2022 there will “absolutely [be] an in-person ATF.”

In its October Issue, VideoAge reported that ATF reps had announced that their event would, once again, be virtual this year, except for the opening day’s activities, which are scheduled to take place at the Marina Bay Sands on December 1. Attendance at the ATF’s opening day (which will be streamed live on ATF Online Plus) will be by invitation only. There will be a free, on-site COVID-19 testing facility at the Marina Bay Sands, but foreign participants will also have to abide by Singapore’s quarantine requirements.

Organizers are expecting some 200 in-person participants, primarily from Singapore, who will basically be attending speeches that day.

Hairol Salim of RX Singapore (formerly Reed Exhibitions) further explained: “Apart from speeches and the opening ceremony, there will be conference sessions lined up during ATF Opening Day Plus at the Marina Bay Sands on December 1 — all of which will be streamed live via ATF Online Plus. The agenda will be released in due course.”

However, there is little mention of the marketplace portion of the event in any of the press releases. Indeed, highlights of the recently released agenda include fireside chats with senior executives from Asia’s leading platforms, aptly titled “Mornings with Industry Leaders”; discussions about the pandemic’s impact on productions (“Production Afternoons”); “ATF Speed Dating,” which will consist of sessions with co-production commissioners; and “ATF Pitches,” or competitions for creators across the fields of animation, new and original formats, and Chinese-speaking territories.

Pictured above, a selection of ATF panelists. Top row: Chen Xiao from iQiyi; Terence Leong from KKBOX; Angeline Poh from MediaCorp; and Barrett Comiskey from Migo. Bottom row: Joanne Tsai from Taiwan+; Kaichen Li from Tencent; Hyejung Hwang from TVING; Lee Tae-Hyun from Waave; and Ashok Namboodiri from Zee Entertainment.

Audio Version (a DV Works service)

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