ATF 2018: transforming and reinventing

Asia TV Forum begins today, December 5, at Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Center with one clear motto: industry players must transform and reinvent themselves to subsist in an ever-competing global scenario.

‘We are in the right place and in the right moment: APAC business is booming and ATF is a show of that growth and evolution. This year’s conference is focusing on the ‘unconventional’. 2019 is going to be a hinge in the industry, and Asia will play a key role’, summarized to Prensario Hui Leng, Group Project Director of ATF & Market and ScreenSingapore, Reed Exhibitions.

While consumption habits and technologies to access content continue to evolve, business models will do so. Yesterday’s “Leader’s Summit” was themed “The next new” with a clear aim towards digital, but some of the strongest concepts of the future have come from the traditional players as HBO and Turner, now operating under a unique umbrella: AT&T’s WarnerMedia.

‘People won’t watch everything we produce, but if we are able to maintain as the primary destination where to find high quality programming, we will be fine’, summarized Jonathan Spink, CEO, HBO Asia, and idea shared by Ricky Ow, president of Turner APAC. ‘Brands are important, localization too. It is has become necessary to transform and reinvent with a consumer-focused strategy: business models and content will keep shifting, but if we center on the consumer, we will not fail’, they agreed.

Ju Jian, head of global content cooperation, Huawei, showed the company objectives for 2019: ‘We want to become a significant competitor in the SVOD market: our IPTV offer now has 126 million subscribers globally with 125 operators in 26+ countries. Next’ year focus will be Latin America and Europe. We aim to improve our video service, increasing our alliances with content providers. We are reinforcing our content partnerships, still not focusing on original production’, added.

Acquired by Times Group in India, MX Player launched this year a domestic video platform with the intention to make it global in the near future, adding original shows across multiple local languages. ‘We serve 175 million clients in India, but we have presence in 500 million devices globally’, remarked Karan Bedi, CEO.

India is one of the most dynamic OTT markets with leading local platforms such us Star’s Hotstar, ZEEL’s ZEE5, and Viacom’s VOOT, as well as YouTube, Amazon and Netflix. ‘Indian people is not so keen on TV, whose soap’s focus is not attracting young audiences. We are going in another direction and we are doing much better in the smallest cities of the country’, he completed.

‘Build global brands, program locally. Gen Z and Millenial content must be driven by local content. Create and package only shorter form content from digital first creators that speaks to this audience. Target 20-30 years old, younger Millenials and older Gen Z’, recommended Curt Marvis, CEO and co-founder of the digital content and channel group QYOU Media, who has launched its Indian division, led by former Sony’s president, Andy Kaplan.

Other platform gaining recognition in APAC is Malaysian-based iflix. Jonas Engwall, head of Asia, confirmed to Prensario: ‘Last year we finished with 5 million users globally (most of them from Asia, but also from MENA), and this year we are topping out 27 million. We have grown more than 5 times our size’.

Philippines is the ‘Country of focus’ this year: 100 million inhabitants, 70% of classes D and E (USD 3000 GDP per capita); 6% of growth every year of the last four; and English-speaking and Western-focused market. Social media, sports-related content and a global content distribution are some of the key characteristics to better understand this strategic APAC market.

Fabricio Ferrara, from Singapore