Asian Buyers Look At New Strategies To Tide Over Covid-19 (Part I)

In a nutshell, looking at the US and Europe, Netflix to date has shut down all productions. TV and movie supply chain is drying up. Major live sporting events, music festivals, concerts, and shows have pulled the plug. Broadcasters are maximising programming they have in the can. Schedules have been re-jigged. IP rights holders seem to be playing fair on pricing despite the surging demand for library content. Broadcasters are cementing their place as a trusted source of news and current affairs programming.

And what of Asia?

Based on a recent survey and bout of interviews by ATF’s iNSiGHTS magazine, buyers in Asia have their own take on how to get through this global plague, with a diversified range of tactics that reflect their own market conditions. These differ extensively throughout the region.

While the majority of Asian buyers maintain there is little change due to the pandemic, the landscape across the world has no doubt been altered with varying intensities. This has sparked a reflection of measures based on market, size of company and business setup.

Krissada Trishnananda
Content Acquisition Director
Bangkok Media and Broadcasting Company (PPTV HD 36)

A marked contention is that a massive hike in eyeball numbers, and an intensified youth target audience does not translate to greater yield at this point, according to Krissada Trishnananda, Content Acquisition Director at Bangkok Media and Broadcasting Company (PPTV HD 36).

As with the virus that seeks proliferation, not profit, Ryan Oktavianus Setiawan, Head of Acquisition at MNC Contents, speaking on a personal capacity, has also expressed uncertainty despite the appealing figures of viewers to date.

In light of dealing with the delays in production, Plan B to tide over these difficult times reveals a strong tendency towards either adapting in-house productions or falling back on reruns of most popular content, coupled with classic matches, while for others, acquiring canned and ready contents from worldwide sources is a necessary dodge to avoid unfilled gaps in programming.

This in itself poses challenges. A quick glance at an ongoing survey of buyers, who acquire for APAC and worldwide markets, prompt a heavy criterion of pricing when considering quick buys to maintain status quo.

“We do not do panic buying,” noted Trishnananda, echoing the mystifying global reaction to the current pandemic. “In this economic environment, we would utilise our content in our inventory and programming rerun.”

Separately, Setiawan noted that since they have their own production and huge library, the impact has not been that dire, yet from his experience thus far, “good content, affordable pricing and speed to deliver” has been a challenge in these times.

On the lookout in general from buyers, the new type of content they are open to consider or are actively searching for, given the state of things, include:

  • Reality and / or Semi Reality on Frontliners handling the pandemic, people who contribute to reach and help the unfortunate, and short “fillers” on motivational and spiritual matters (MALAYSIA)
  • Movies with family oriented themes, including dramatic slants, as well as “light fun” (INDONESIA)
  • Mini drama series with less episode (JAPAN)
  • Animation, with non-dialogue preference (for terrestrial broadcaster & OTT) (INDONESIA)
  • Edutainment (THAILAND)
  • Content conveying local attractions, not limited to large cities, in movie / drama format (to revitalize the tourism industry)* (JAPAN)

Do look out for Part I of the full list of what Asian Buyers are looking for during this pandemic. Coming to you the week of April 13, 2020 on iNSiGHTS magazine.
ATF’s April 2020 BUYER SURVEY will be released the week of April 20, 2020. Don’t miss it!