Formats Outlook 2018

2018 looks like it will end with Asia’s formats biz up on last year. Thailand and Korea are the big winners for format rights holders, followed by India. Volume is way down in Vietnam compared to last year, but the market remains the region’s biggest buyer of formats by far.  

Asia’s formats business heads into the final months of the year looking  better than it did this time last year. With additional announcements expected during the ATF market in Singapore in December, the year could close above 300 titles/series either on air or commissioned for 2019. 

2018 gains are led by Thailand, which is rocking game shows and entertainment, and Korea, which has acquired a slate of drama formats such as Love Affairs in the Afternoon (Fuji TV, Japan) and Doctor Foster (BBC Studios). Thai versions of regional and international formats include Shark Tank Thailand (Sony Pictures Television) and Noisy Neighbours (TV Asahi, Japan). 

The biggest trends are the rise of scripted/drama formats acquisitions and the rising confidence of local creators who see a chance to spread their IP around the world. These include Hunan TV’s The Rocking Bridge and Zense Entertainment’s Singer Auction and The Producer out of Thailand. Japan is shifting the scripted needle. Nippon TV continues to capture Turkish drama attention and, in October, Fuji TV said it had sold remake rights to almost 40 of its drama series to Chinese media companies.

Of the 17 markets tracked in ContentAsia’s Formats Outlook, 10 were up by end October and seven were down. Vietnam dipped the most, followed by China (no surprise, given ongoing regulation that disadvantages foreign rights holders) and the Philippines, which is, nevertheless, still involved in big budget productions such as Big Brother and Little Big Shots.

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Published in Issue Seven of ContentAsia's in-print + online 2018 (December 2018)