Increased competition in the burgeoning Asian marketplace has created a ready-made niche for British distributor ITEL to sell its high-end children’s animated product.
ITEL has had a presence in the region for over a decade and comes to its third MIP’ Asia with an animation catalogue that it believes meets the growing demands of local broadcasters, who are seeking high-quality, nonviolent children’s programming.
Because of the glut of animated programs available worldwide, buyers are becoming more discriminating in their selection, according to Glen Hansen, sales manager, ITEL.
In contrast to action/adventure-based Japanese animation, which also sells well in the region, ITEL products reflect ‘softer,’ more wholesome programming options based on classic literature and children’s stories.
At MIP’ Asia, ITEL will be offering programs from its Cosgrove Hall Films library, such as Fantomcat and Oakie Doke, and from Martin Gates Productions, including Bimble’s Bucket.
The demand for higher-end product is the result of increased competition caused by deregulation. New stations must improve their transmission methods, scheduling and programming choices if they hope to be competitive. Hansen points to Indonesia as an example. Just a few years ago, the country had one government station, but has added five commercial channels in the past five years.
Additionally, as countries such as Indonesia develop, their demographics will change as income levels rise. This should lead to an explosive growth in satellite and cable services, which are just beginning to take root.
‘I think the best way to market yourself and your products is to keep up with the rapid development in that region,’ says Hansen. ITEL places great importance on having direct contact with local broadcasters, not just through markets like MIP’ Asia, but also by visiting individual stations regularly to stay apprised of changing programming needs.
‘Southeast Asia is growing immensely,’ Hansen says. ‘There’s so much going on and so many changes that it can’t hurt to maintain a good presence out there.’