Special Report ­ MIP’ Asia: Patience pays off for EM-Entertainment

For Germany's EM-Entertainment, patience has proven to be a virtue with Asian buyers....
December 1, 1996

For Germany’s EM-Entertainment, patience has proven to be a virtue with Asian buyers.

In the process of becoming one of Germany’s leading independent media companies, EM-Entertainment learned that although Asian broadcasters may take their time before deciding whether to purchase TV programs, once they make a commitment, they seek long-term relationships.

‘You can’t go to Asia, present a property and expect a yes or no answer right away,’ says Florian Haffa, executive vice president, EM-Entertainment. ‘With Asian companies, it takes time, but if they agree to a deal, then you have a deal. That’s a great advantage.’

This MIP’ Asia marks the third time EM will attend the market. Like many other companies, it came to the first MIP’ Asia as a curious spectator, interested in the market, but not completely sure how to approach it.

Haffa has found that success in Asia comes from a willingness to listen to the needs of individual buyers. ‘I don’t think you can set up 15-minute meetings with Asian partners and then rush to the next meeting,’ he says.

EM has a catalogue of over 1,500 half-hours for international distribution. Animated co-productions it will bring to MIP’ Asia include: Tabaluga, with ZDF Enterprises and Yoram Gross Filmstudios; Sauerkraut, with ZDF; and Max & Molly and Hugo & Egon, both with ARD/NDR.

Because the company controls worldwide rights for the majority of series it produces, it attends MIP’ Asia with one eye on program sales and the other on licensing and merchandising potential. When it presents properties for sale to Asian TV stations, it simultaneously is looking for merchandising and licensing partners in the same territories.

As with other international markets, a need for high-quality children’s animation must be met as new programming outlets are added. Haffa regards the Asian market as ‘more and more important’ in its future growth.

‘You have to be patient [with the buyers],’ he says. ‘They say it will take some time, but they will come back to you and make the decision. Once there is a verbal agreement, then it is an agreement. That’s what I really love about working with them.’

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