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Opinion: A view from Europe: Asia and its market opportunities

There are many television and merchandising opportunities in the Asian market for European film, television and merchandising companies. Nevertheless, we are very much aware of the fact that cultural differences do exist between various countries. Asia is a conglomerate of many...
November 1, 1997

There are many television and merchandising opportunities in the Asian market for European film, television and merchandising companies. Nevertheless, we are very much aware of the fact that cultural differences do exist between various countries. Asia is a conglomerate of many cultures, religions and people, and everyone should take this into consideration before entering any business talks. There are many small differences in the way business partners treat each other around the world. Have you ever written something on the business card of your Japanese business partner? If you have, you will know that, most probably, he was not your partner after that.

The Asian market has recently become more accessible to European series and films. The television fair MIP’ Asia has become an excellent platform for these business transactions. Three years ago, when this market first took place, most participants did not know what to expect and there were a few surprises. Each year since then, relationships have been established and mutual understanding has grown.

We have now realized that the European and Asian markets are not so different after all. Sailor Moon, a Japanese production by Toei Entertainment, is one of the highest-rated shows on German television, reaching almost one-third of three- to 13-year-olds. And countries such as Malaysia, Korea, Singapore, the Philippines and China have been successfully airing European programs. Japanese television stations have started to negotiate directly with producers and distributors instead of talking to sponsors. After the success of Japanese programs in Europe, Japanese stations are now willing to buy strong European productions.

It is certainly a challenge to build up lasting business relationships in Asia, but a challenge worth taking on.

Florian Haffa is a member of the board of EM.TV & Merchandising AG (formerly EM-Entertainment), a Munich-based diversified communications company.

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