Asia Television Forum closes to a record turnout

MUMBAI: The Asia Television Forum (ATF), Asia Film Market and Conference (AFMC) and Asia Animation (AAN), Asia's foremost programming market where international sellers converge to network and do business with Asian buyers and partners, closed last week to a record turnout.

The event, which was opened by Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA) Senior Minister of State Dr Balaji Sadasivan, welcomed over 3,500 participants from 38 countries.

The nine-storied Garden Wing at the Shangri-La Hotel was transformed into an exclusive marketplace for the event. Around 146 seller companies from 26 countries took up suites to showcase their latest programmes at the three-day market, including leading media companies such as Buena Vista International Television, CBS/ Paramount International Television, Lions Gate Entertainment, NBC Universal and Sony Pictures Television International. Forty per cent of the exhibitors have already re-booked for next year.

"We are very happy with the results that we achieved at ATF. We had the opportunity to meet with most of the clients in Asia and present our latest releases. We are definitely coming back," said Televisa Estudios, USA marketing director Claudia Silva.

The event played host to key buyers from across 24 countries including buyers from Cambodia, Bhutan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, who came to the market for the first time.

"Excellent market! Well organised, great location, lots of heavyweights sellers and good businesses too," said Star Entertainment Pvt Ltd, India managing director Jiten Hemdev.

"ATF/AFMC has been a delight to attend! The organiser has delivered a top notch International TV event," added Yes Television Asia, Hong Kong president Lanny Huang.

"We are extremely pleased that ATF|AFMC 2004 was such a success. Over $21 million were transacted over the three days, surpassing last year's $13 million. Another $29 million is expected to conclude in the next six months, and $26 million in the next 12 months. Major studios have all indicated they are interested to return for 2005, with some of them already signed up. These are clear indications that Asia is playing an increasingly important role in the global media business and ATF|AFMC remains Asia's most important media marketplace," said Ed Ng, president, Reed Exhibitions Singapore, the organizer of ATF|AFMC.

Show highlights at the event included Interactive TV (iTV) and a special Animation showcase. The event also featured conferences addressing key industry concerns and issues; ATF Conference, Asia Animation Summit and Conference and the inaugural Media Financing Forum, which included one-on-one sessions with the financiers. Altogether, nine financiers from seven countries reviewed 32 shortlisted projects who were vying for a slice of the more than S$ 100 million pie set aside to fund productions by Asian production companies.

Another highlight of the show was the SuperPitches; the ATF SuperPitch, a pitching competition for TV programming and Animation SuperPitch, a pitching competition for animation content. The winner of the ATF SuperPitch, which beat 46 others to top honours, was The Legacy of Geoffrey Bawa from Fluid Productions (Singapore). The other five finalists were GG Ghosts from Collage Communications, (India), Excavating Time from Sneh Productions (India), Pick a Flick from Creative Development Group (Philippines), Drover's Dream from Fremantle Productions Asia (Indonesia) and Drukhor Gi Kawa from Ugetsu Communications (Bhutan).

The winning entry for the Animation SuperPitch, House of Loo from Creative Licence (Malaysia), beat 45 other entries to claim the top prize.

The Asia Media Festival (AMF) Advisory Committee also convened in the afternoon of the last day of the AMF for the AMF Advisory Meeting. The distinguished group, made up of leading industry professionals and representatives from government agencies, regulatory bodies, film societies and key broadcasters and publications, reviewed the current Asian media business climate and discussed measures to bring the Asian media market to the next level. The committee was especially encouraged by the positive response received for newly crafted initiatives such as the Media Financing Forum and the one-on-one sessions with financiers, which explore financing and co-production issues, and provides a matchmaking platform for production companies to meet potential investors. This expands the scope and depth of the event on top of the buy and sell component of the market.

The next edition of ATF|AFMC will take place from 30 November to 2 December 2005 in Singapore.

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