ATF: Asia, the promised land

ATF 2017 surpassed the expectations of most of the participants and offered a suitable ground to build up businesses all across the region and platforms. A growth of 8% in the number of participants was announced by Reed Exhibitions, totalizing 5,400 executives, with 1,000 buyers from 60 countries.

Asia Pacific shows strength through innovative ventures and emerging markets with new players. Digital and mobile on demand platforms plus VR/AR deployments are the stars. There was a strong focus on these technologies, with many companies showing brand new immersive contents.

Tim Westcott, research director, IHS Markit: ‘Asia is a key territory in every single business segment, as it has a huge population, rapidly growing economies, increasing middle-clasess and growing Pay TV, broadband and OTT developments. Ad revenues, especially digital, is showing strong progress, the same for Pay TV revenues and mobile 4G with 1.5 billion users and 2 billion smartphones’.

While linear TV is falling steadily, mobile Internet is booming. Facebook and YouTube are the kings on the advertising space, but the explosion of competition on the OTT market is starred by strong local companies, such us HOOQ, iflix and PCCW’ Viu, apart from Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. APAC represents the 16% of the total worldwide OTT subscriber’s base with 150 million clients.

‘Here, the localization of content remains fundamental, as well as a competitive pricing strategy, appealing and distinctive programming offer and flexibility on the payment methods. Six out of ten global OTTs came from China, with BaiduiQiyi, Alibaba’s Youku Tudou and Tencent reaching 100 millions subscribers by end 2017. In 2021, digital advertising will overtake traditional TV in China. Online content enjoys more freedom rather than on TV’, he completes.

India, Japan, Korea and Australia are the other four key digital markets. In the first one, online is mobile first, and Amazon and Netflix are betting on local production, as well as in Japan, where even FTA is strong, there is a solid growth of digital players. APAC is by far the biggest region for mobile telephony. It accounted for 40% of worldwide 3G and 4G subscriptions last year. In 2021 its share will have increased to 52%. 3G is growing much faster than fixed broadband in the region, concludes IHS Markit report.

‘We are writing a new chapter and everyone is has their chance’, declares Salar Shahna, CEO of World VR Forum (Geneva), who predicts that VR users will soon be experiencing life-like movements with six degrees of freedom, full-body presence and inter-user collaboration. Working with neuroscientist, VR content producers in Hollywood are currently making strides to deliver the best VR body experiences possible. Shahna identifies China as the biggest and ripest VR market, unveiling his next big project bu-ke-qi (you are welcome) targeted at bringing top content to that market.

With all these changes and evolutions it becomes a need for all the international companies focusing in this region to be aware of the new trends, changes in the media landscapes, regulations and business opportunities. It is important to add that there are incipient markets, such as Myanmar, Laos and Sri Lanka, whose TV channels were in Singapore this week.

In Mongolia, there are over 150 FTA TV and cable networks for a population of only 3 million. It is one of the most competitive and fragmented media landscape in Asia. ‘Mongol TV has become the market leader in content production and trend setting. We gain experience by producing international format hits’, explains Nomin Chinbat, CEO of the channel that has 25% of share.

Royal HD Channel is expanding its programming, adding animation to its traditional educational and culture programming’, says Tamir Erdenebaatar, director, while Temulin Batjargal, foreign relations manager, at Mongolia Digital Broadcasting (MNBC), comments that the company is looking for ‘all kind of contents’, but with focus on drama series. Stay tuned, there will be more to watch soon.

Fabricio Ferrara, from Singapore

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