December 11-2018
Reed Exhibitions’ group project director Yeow Hui Leng on the growth and importance of ATF

The 19th edition of Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF) has seen tremendous success with 58 countries and regions, 19 pavilions, more than 5,600 executives and over 313US$ million deals made during the four-day event.  

ATF is the region’s leading entertainment content event. It is the platform of calibre to acquire knowledge, network, buy, sell, finance, distribute and co-produce across all platforms. It’s where the best minds meet and the future of Asia’s content is shaped and the premier stage in Asia to engage with the entertainment industry’s top players from around the world.

ATF also offers the opportunity to discover vital trends, crucial statistics and significant foresight in TV’s digital, kids and formats arenas. Its business matchmaking opportunities open doors to some of the best new offerings in the region, presenting valuable business prospects for top of the line benefits.

AnimationXpress talks with Reed Exhibitions’ group project director of Asia TV Forum & Market and ScreenSingapore, Yeow Hui Leng on the growth and importance of this forum in the Asian market:

1. How has ATF developed and grown over the years to be an important content market for buyers and sellers? What are your expansion plans?

As Asia’s leading entertainment content event, ATF is the premier stage in Asia to engage with the entertainment industry’s top players from around the world, where the best minds meet and the future of Asia’s content is shaped.

Over the years, ATF has evolved beyond a proven content distribution market. We are now a hub for learning and networking where attendees keep abreast of industry trends. In addition to hearing from the most relevant and current industry leaders share their expertise, attendees can also look forward to networking with the biggest industry players to explore partnership opportunities in terms of content procurement, distribution and co-production.

We have also placed greater emphasis on developing Asian talent. In line with that, ATF provides various platforms such as ATF Animation Pitch, ATF Chinese Pitch, ATF Formats Pitch for budding creative artists to bring their fresh format or animation concepts to fruition.

ATF promises to remain committed to gathering the most relevant and current industry leaders to speak at our conference, to enable delegates to develop a deep understanding of current and emerging trends in rapidly developing Asia.

Yeow Hui Leng

2. How has ATF helped connect Asian content producers and entertainment industry’s top players, from around the world?

The annual Asia TV Forum & Market returned to Marina Bay Sands from 4 to 7 December 2018. The annual event is co-located with ScreenSingapore, Southeast Asia’s definitive marketplace for the film industry, where attendees can explore co-production opportunities, seek financing, make deals and learn about the changing film landscape.

This year, ATF and ScreenSingapore gathered more than 5,600 content buyers and sellers from Asia and beyond – to acquire knowledge, network, buy, sell, finance, distribute and co-produce across all platforms.

3. What were the highlights of ATF 2018? 

We look at it through different segments –

> Market

  • For industry players looking to strengthen their presence in Asia and regional businesses seeking to broaden their global reach, ATF has been a must-attend event where the global entertainment industry’s top players congregate.
  • In 2018, ATF facilitated US$313 million in deals, according to preliminary estimates. The market was equally vibrant this year, with the latest content for multiple platforms from content sellers and buyers from 58 countries and regions.
  • Additionally, networking activities on the market floor provided opportunities for buyers and sellers to meet their desired counterparts.

> Conference

  • The sessions at ATF Leaders’ Summit this year focused on ‘The Next New’ and delivered forward-looking strategies and featured prominent players in the industry.
  • Among the Keynotes was QYOU CEO and co-Founder Curt Marvis. With programming distributed on six continents to millions of customers, QYOU is emerging as a leader in the rapidly expanding global distribution of premium short form video.
  • Digital platforms continue to transform the way audiences consume content, so a new breed of companies coined as the second wave in digital, were well-represented by their executives. These included – Propagate Content founder and co-CEO Howard T Owens, MX Player CEO Karan Bedi and Huawei Technologies (Huawei Video) chief content officer and global president of strategy Jian Ju.
  • Two key personnel from another Chinese online video service, iQIYI, also delivered insights at the ATF Leaders’ Summit – SVP Yang Xianghua and VP Chen Xiao.
  • The world’s first streaming service, Curiosity Stream which is dedicated to curating and delivering premium factual content, was also represented at the Summit by the  chief content officer Steve Burns, who is responsible for its entire library of more than 2,000 documentary features and series.
  • HBO Asia CEO Jonathan Spink, Turner Asia Pacific president Ricky Ow along with Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority chief industry development officer Howie Lau took to the stage for a panel titled ‘Market Leaders: Managing Change in a Dynamic Market’, where panellists discussed how they have been able to maintain their short-term goals while keeping an eye on the big picture, amid the ongoing massive market re-alignment and a fast-changing digital space.

From L-R: beIN Asia Pacific managing director Mike Kerr, FOX Network Group Asia executive vice president / managing director (Sports) Italo Zanzi, Twitter (APAC) head of sports partnerships Aneesh Madani and Globecast CEO and chairman Philippe Bernard.

  • This year’s ATF Leaders’ Summit also saw the presence of Twitter (APAC) head of Sports Partnerships, Aneesh Madan, ABS CBN Corporation president and CEO Carlo Katigbak, Cignal TV chief marketing officer Guido Xavier R. Zaballero, HOOQ CEO Peter Bithos, Globecast CEO and chairman Philippe Bernard and Philippines’ TV5 president and CEO Vincent Reyes.
  • The Content Connection presented Asia’s best, uncovering strategic opportunities in dynamic market conditions, and showcasing scripted and unscripted formats from the region’s powerhouses of India, South Korea, Thailand and Turkey.
  • Production Day saw formats experts and creative leaders discuss relevant issues and explore case studies, in a bid to grow industry capabilities and advance industry proficiency.
  • K7 Media managing director Keri Lewis Brown revealed top fresh content from Asia based on market intelligence at The Content Connection and Production Day.

> Pitching Competitions

As Asia’s leading content market, ATF believes not just in presenting the best content, but also in supporting outstanding talent through three competitions.

  • The ATF Chinese Pitch is a partnership with GHY Culture & Media. Targeted at Asian content creators, this pitching competition will bring innovative concepts for new and original scripts for theatrical or online movies, or online drama series to fruition in the China.
  • With the tagline “DREAM. BELIEVE. AND FINALLY… DARE”, the ATF Animation Pitch is the premier Asian pitching competition catered to individuals, students and small medium sized companies with new and innovative concepts in animation that target at kids. This is a platform that showcases Asian originality and exposes ideas for export and development outside of the region.
  • For creators and producers of new and original non-scripted entertainment formats in Asia, the ATF Formats Pitch will showcase the best of Asia and expose ideas for export and development both inside and outside the region.

India – Fresh Content 2019

4. What are your expectations from India this time, considering the two sessions pertaining to the country? / How was the scenario five years ago and where do you see this market in the near future?

In this age of ‘internet TV’, consumption habits have shifted from traditional TV to digitalised video content. Besides streaming universal and mainstream movies and TV shows, more over-the-top (OTT) media service providers are investing in and creating their own content to cater to the local flavours and to showcase works by local filmmakers.

As one of the region’s powerhouses, more content providers are expanding their market and operations in India, Asia’s one of the most exciting markets, in recent years. Interestingly, it is noted that an average Indian user watches 8.5 hours of YouTube and Facebook short-form video content each month. As a result, there is an abundance of talented creatives producing culturally relevant bite-sized shows that appeal to local audiences. Video segment is also expected to drive 74 per cent of internet traffic in India by 2019.

For this reason, we brought two significant individuals in the Indian content industry to the ATF Leaders’ Summit. One of them was QYOU India media industry advisor and non-executive chairman Andy Kaplan. With the rise of video content demand India, Q India (rebranded from QYOU India) has been growing in the country through a block of new content partnerships. Separately, MX Player CEO Karan Bedi shared his thoughts on the new digital ecosystem and how producers can create content that appeals to non-traditional platforms.

We believe that India will continue grow to be a premier destination for best original, digital content.