Korea was showcasing its entertainment programs, not only exporting its popular dramas in the region and beyond, but now with the global popularity of K-Pop (who can resist the mass appeal of Girls Generation and Gangnam Style recently made youtube history ) more light entertainment is also being reviewed internationally. This buzz was heard around the market as well as during the conferences. "The Running Man" is Korea's own Format and is number one in the country and is now expanding around the region.
A+E just announced they are assuming 100-percent ownership of the Singapore-based joint venture it set up with Malaysia's Astro to roll out its pay-TV brands across Southeast Asia. Astro will continue to carry HISTORY, Crime & Investigation Network and BIO in Malaysia and Brunei following A+E taking full control of AETN All Asia Networks, the joint venture established in 2007. In addition, A+E is establishing a regional production partnership with Astro.
One of the quickest ways for Western TV to get a foothold in the territory is to localize already established Formats such as "X Factor," and "Clash of the Choirs" (seen not only in China but expanding throughout the region) and these shows are airing to high ratings. Enlight Media, the largest independent Chinese production company just announced its highest rating (2.4 of 10) for its premiere of the 2nd season of "Clash of the Choirs" on CCTV-1, representing millions of viewers. There is now a very strong competition among Chinese broadcasters to acquire the top formats, and as such, western Format distributors are now enjoying three times the price from just a year ago. The number one format in China is "The Voice"
Even though there is still a strong concern from the West about piracy, it is being somewhat overridden by the vast opportunity to be involved in the area. Eastern TV companies are hiring western producers to learn their production skills, business policies and practices. The smart ones see the advantages of growing a better business reputation, whether it be to establish itself for the future to sell their own Formats and programs (and its experienced producers to train them) or to acquire the best existing programming (Formats) and be first among their own countries' competitors. They are beginning to understand the credibility issues and are hiring global media consultants to advise and train their executives on how to play nicely in the global field. The Format People, led by Michel Rodrigue, are infiltrating the region with their expertise he number of viewers in the region is staggering to the West, many would be happy with just a fraction of the Chinese viewers.
The ATF has grown since I first attended 12 years ago at the Sentosa Hotel with just 600 attendees (most from nearby countries, the market is now at 4K (up 14% over last year) taking place at the modern Sands Convention Center. I anticipate an ever growing presence in the coming years as the West competes more for media market share. Personally MGC is pleased to be able to reach into the region with our clients Mongol TV and Enlight Media China. We are excited to be in discussion with potential partners from Singapore and Vietnam.