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ATF 2017 attracts Indian content studios, both big and small

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MUMBAI: Singapore-based Reed Exhibitions’ Asia TV Forum (ATF) is round the corner and the buzz around the event only seems to be ramping up. This year, the forum will see around 60 countries from all over the globe. From 28 November to 1 December 2017, more than 90 thought leaders will deliver fresh insights at over 24 ATF conference sessions, discussing present-day issues such as big data, movement in the over-the-top (OTT) scene, new monetisation strategies, unscripted entertainment formats and kids content.

Indiantelevision.com founder Anil Wanvari has been working on developing opportunities for India’s animation and live action sector – whether for TV or OTT – over the past three years at ATF as its representative for the regions of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

“We have seen the presence from south Asia grow from a small 20-30 to around 140 this year since I was given the task of working closely with the region’s content creators, buyers and distributors,” says Wanvari. “I and the team which works with me have been happy to help catalyse their presence on Asian and global stages. ATF has a strong presence of smaller buyers, producers, distributors from the region apart from the big name players from Europe and the US. It has become a must visit event for the content executive.”

The major Indian satellite TV networks Sony Pictures Networks India, Star India, Indiacast-Viacom18, and Zee Telefilms have their syndication and licensing teams exhibiting in the Marina Bay Sands venue. Other noteworthy exhibitors include: format and content syndication company GoQuest, Swastik Productions’ One Life Studios which is hawking its mega budget Porus and homegrown formats, One Take Media which is selling its kids animation and cookery shows, film and digital content creator and distributor Rajshri Entertainment, infotainment channel EPIC TV, kids content pioneer Green Gold.

“This is probably the highest exhibitor strength India has managed at ATF ever,” says Wanvari. “The country’s content selling industry has come a long way despite the oft repeated statement that our TV shows are not good enough to cut the international grade.”

Among the initiatives that Wanvari and Reed Exhibitions have supported is the building up of delegations from India and south Asia. The first of these has been the one which has been growing under the umbrella of the Media & Entertainment Association of India (MEAI). The association’s secretary Ankur Bhasin has cobbled together a delegation of 11 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) consisting of 13 delegates in the content creation and distribution spaces.

Says Bhasin, "Fueled by improved connectivity and mobile explosion, Asia-Pacific is experiencing the fastest growth worldwide in terms of growth of time spent consuming media online - about 6.7 per cent consistently year on year compared to global average of 2.9 per cent. Although the average consumption of three plus hours per day for the Indian audience and about six hours per day for Chinese viewers is still relatively low compared to western countries, with over 60 per cent of the world population concentrated here, that is a substantial change on how media is being consumed. It is no surprise that this explosion is resulting in a growing demand for content in the APAC market.”

Wanvari points out there are many commonalities in culture that India shares with east Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, south Korea, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. “We all share Asian sensibilities and values,” he says. “Hence, we can relate to each other’s content.”

Bhasin believes ATF is a very important market to target Asian buyers as well as to look for co-production opportunities. “Increasingly, there has been demand from MEAI members to focus on markets in the east and this has resulted in a growing delegation to ATF from MEAI. MEAI hopes this will materialize into a pavilion next year to give a fixed presence to the delegation being put together by the association with the support of Anil and his team," Bhasin adds.

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