Children’s Television Workshop returns to its third MIP’ Asia seeking partnerships with broadcasters to develop original, localized productions in pan-Asian territories.
CTW has had an Asian presence for 25 years and believes that Asian markets have a thirst for high-quality, education-based entertainment programming.
According to David Jacobs, regional vice president, Asia/Latin America at CTW, the Asian market is making the transition from one that was traditionally program-acquisition-based to one that is growing increasingly more reliant on local productions.
Improvements in technology and production capabilities have forced Asian broadcasters to move at a more rapid pace in local program development than their European and Latin American counterparts at similar stages of sophistication.
CTW g’es to MIP’ Asia to service this growing programming spectrum. On one end, it offers traditional program sales. On the other end, it seeks partners to create new, local-language co-productions of Sesame Street (as it is doing in with Shanghai TV in China, acting as a consulting producer). In between, it offers less costly local programming co-productions like Open Sesame, that allows broadcasters to benefit from the educational approach of Sesame Street, but not have to create an entirely new show from scratch.
Jacobs believes this type of flexibility is necessary to build successful relationships with Asian broadcasters. Each country represents a different set of challenges, because each country is at a different stage of development. This g’es not only for programming, but licensing as well, which has become a more integral factor to forging relationships with broadcasters.
‘There is a misconception that there is this thing out there for TV called ‘Asia’, ‘ he says. ‘If you’re going to do business in Asia, don’t plan on taking a plane to Asia. Plan on taking a plane throughout the region, country by country, and understanding each market. The broadcasters respect the fact that you are providing programming for them locally on their own terms.’
Jacobs believes pride in local productions will drive the Asian market in the future. Companies that fail to make regional partners may be hurt in the long run, because the need for acquired English-language programming may lessen.