The beginning of a recovery is creeping across Asia’s format business, with a rise of about 30% in the number of formats on air or commissioned in the first six months of 2022 compared to the first half of 2021. But there’s a long way to go to a return to 2017’s high of 285, ContentAsia’s latest Formats Outlook shows.
Asia’s formats industry is way up this year, registering an increase of more than 30% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same six months last year, according to ContentAsia’s latest Formats Outlook.
The final report shows 169 adaptations commissioned/under way or on air from January to the end of June 2022. These are overwhelmingly local adaptations. Less than a handful, including Netflix’s A Time Called You, a Korean adaptation of a Taiwanese series and Rana Naidu, an Indian adaptation of American crime drama Ray Donovan, are intended for a wider footprint.
This year’s 169 is up 41 titles (+32%) from the 128 we counted in the first six months of 2021, when Covid containment measures were in full force, putting the brakes on production and stifling decision making.
At the same time, the return to the highs of years gone by still a way off. ContentAsia’s Formats Outlook for the first half of 2017 counted 285 formats on air or in production, led by Vietnam with 67, followed by Thailand with 42, China with 39 and India with 26.
The first half of 2022 was led by India and Vietnam with 31 titles each – or about 37% of the total.
Of the 18 countries tracked in the report, Thailand was a distant second, with 18 titles, followed by the Philippines with 17 and Mongolia with 12. Bangladesh, Myanmar and Taiwan didn’t acquire rights to any formats in the first half of this year.
By genre, game shows continue to top our 1H 2022 formats charts, with 41 titles across the 18 markets + regional. Game shows have led rankings since 2017 (94 in 1H 2017, 73 in 1H 2018, 70 in 1H 2019, 67 in 1H 2020 and 41 in 1H 2021).
Game shows acquired this year include two seasons of First and Last Thailand by Banijay Rights; Family Feud Philippines and Family Feud Thailand from Fremantle; and two seasons of 5 Gold Rings Mongolia from ITV Studios.
Drama formats were second by volume with 37 titles, followed by singing-related formats with 32 titles.
Missing from the formats landscape this year were dance-themed formats, which have been slipping from highs of eight in the first six months of 2017. This dropped to four in 1H 2018, and maintained that level in 1H 2019, dipping to three in 1H 2020, and one in 1H 2021.
The heady days of premium drama continue in India producers race to service demand from streaming platforms. Of the 31 titles that showed up for the first six months of this year, 13 were drama, with a marked preference for thrillers and crime stories.
South Asian global streamer, Zee5, has emerged as a major player in this space. Among the 13 scripted formats out of India, five – Bloody Brothers, based on British mystery thriller Guilt (BBC Studios); Mithya, the remake of psychological thriller Cheat (All3Media); The Broken News, an adaptation of British series Press (BBC Studios); Duranga – Two Shades of a Lie (adapted from Korea’s Flower of Evil); and Gaalivaana, an Indian adaptation of modern thriller, One Of Us (BBC Studios) – have a regional/international presence on Zee5.
Two drama formats returned for the third time in India - Banijay Rights’ crime thriller Aarya S3 and BBC Studios’ thriller Criminal Justice India S3, which is slated to premiere towards the end of this year. Both titles were commissioned by Disney+ Hotstar.
Reality was also a winner in India in the first half of this year, driven by eight versions of Bigg Boss, the Indian adaptation of Banijay Rights’ Big Brother.
The multiple versions of Bigg Boss on the India list included two seasons of Bigg Boss Hindi (S15/S16 on Viacom18’s Colors), two seasons of Bigg Boss Tamil (S5/S6 on Asianet Star’s Star Vijay) and Bigg Boss Kannada OTT S1, which kicked off on 6 August this year on Viacom18’s GEC Colors Kannada.
The rest of the list for India was made up of movies, game shows, talent and cooking-related formats.
Banijay Rights once again held the lion’s share of India’s formats market with 12 titles.
Last year, Banijay was the biggest formats distributor by volume in India in ContentAsia’s Formats Outlook for FY 2021.
Ranked by distributor, Banijay Rights is followed by Philippines’ ABS-CBN and BBC Studios with five titles each.
Aside from ABS-CBN, the India list also included two remakes originated from Asia - Good Doctor India, an adaptation of Korea’s KBS Media 2013 medical drama, about an autistic man who overcomes bias and discrimination by utilising his exceptional abilities; and Duranga – Two Shades of a Lie, based on CJ ENM/Studio Dragon Korea’s scripted thriller Flowers of Evil, starring Gulshan Devaiah as Sammit Patel, who changes his identity to hide his scandalous past and then marries a police detective, Ira, played by Drashti Dhami.
Vietnam, which logged about 50 titles a year for the past four years (60 in FY2018, 58 in FY2019, 51 in FY2020, 30 in FY2021, ranking first/second among 18 countries), had 31 titles by June this year.
As has always been the case, Vietnam’s formats environment is all about game shows, which made up about half of the titles in the market for the first six months of 2022. These included two seasons of NBCUniversal’s Crush Vietnam (S2/S3), commisioned by VTV3; Workpoint Group’s The Wall Duet Vietnam S2, and Fremantle’s Thank God You’re Here, commisioned/produced by Dong Tay Promotions for VTV3.
Variety show and singing-related formats accounted for 16% each, followed by fashion/beauty with 10%, dating 6%, and drama, movie and singing formats with 1 title each.
Of the 31 titles, at least 15 were aired/commissioned by state-controlled broadcaster Vietnam Television (VTV) and six by Ho Chi Minh City Television (HTV).
Banijay Rights led Vietnam’s formats market by volume with seven titles, followed by NBCUniversal with six and All3Media International and KBS Media with five titles each.
Similar to Vietnam, game show formats are thriving in Thailand. Out of the 18 titles, the country recorded six game shows in the first half, including TV Asahi’s 31 Legged Race Thailand.
Drama and cooking formats accounted for a total of 39% – or seven titles of the total format counts for Thailand – by the end of June.
Three of the drama formats originated from Korea. They were Switch On (Game Rak Salub Miti), a Thai drama remake of MBC’s W – Two Worlds Apart; School 2013, a youth/coming-of-age format from KBS Media; and Good Doctor, a medical drama also from KBS.
In addition to Korea, Thailand also adapted formats from Japan. The list for 1H 2022 included Fuji TV’s cooking competition Iron Chef S11, and TV Asahi’s sports game show 31 Legged Race Thailand, where 30 elementary school children run literally together in a row for 50 meters with their legs tied together.
NBCUniversal and Fremantle had the most formats in Thailand in 1H 2022, with four titles each.
On average, Thailand commissioned/aired about 45 titles a year for the past four years: 70 in 2018, 51 in 2019, at least 37 in 2020 and 21 in 2021.
The Philippines ranked fourth of the 18 markets covered for the first half of the year, with 17 titles on air/commissioned.
On average, Philippines commissioned/aired 13 titles a year for the past four years: 14 in 2018, 16 in 2019, at least nine in 2020 and 14 in 2021.
ContentAsia’s latest Formats Outlook 1H 2022 report shows that eight of the 17 formats counted for the first six months of the year were from Banijay Rights (4) and Fremantle (4), giving the two companies a combined market share of 47%. MBC Korea, CJ ENM Korea and BBC Studios accounted for two titles each. ITV Studios, Passion Distribution and SBS Korea had one title each.
Besides Vietnam and Thailand, the Philippines’ formats market was also dominated by game show formats.
Game shows accounted for seven titles, followed by singing contests and drama with three titles each, and cooking, fashion/beauty, reality (social experiment) and variety show with one title each.
The list included Drag Race Philippines, the Philippines’ adaptation of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, which premiered on Discovery+ in the Philippines on 17 August this year, with an additional window on premium streamer HBO Go. This is the second adaptation in Asia after the 2018’s Drag Race Thailand, commissioned/produced by the Thai Kantana Group.
At least eight of the 17 formats were commissioned by ABS-CBN. These included Idol Philippines S2 from Fremantle; Deal or No Deal Philippines S7, Minute To Win It Philippines S5, and Big Brother Philippines S10 from Banijay Rights; and two seasons of thriller drama The Broken Marriage Vow Philippines S1/2, the local adaptations of BBC Studios’ Doctor Foster.
GMA Network accounted for at least four of the 17 formats – The Wall Philippines S2 from Banijay Rights; Family Feud and Battle of the Judges from Fremantle; and Running Man Philippines from SBS Korea.
1H2022 FORMATS BY DISTRIBUTOR...
Banijay Rights’ titles dominated our formats count for the first half of 2022. Out of the 169 total, 41 (24%) were from Banijay.
India was Banijay’s strongest formats market, with 12 titles commissioned/on air, including multiple versions of the Big Brother format in 1H 2022.
Of the 41 Banijay’s formats, 12 were game shows. These included two seasons of Puzzle Masters China and Minute to Win It Philippines S5.
Formats from ITV Studios filled 22 (13%) of the total 169 formats counts. Most it were singing-related formats, including 13 versions/seasons of The Voice.
Fremantle had 14 (8%) including four each in the Philippines and Thailand. These included two seasons of Project Runway Thailand.
Season two of the modelling format was greenlit by Thai free-TV broadcaster JKN18 in June this year and production on the new 13-episode season begins in February 2023.
All3Media International accounted for 12 (7%) titles, including five commissioned in Vietnam, three in Mongolia and one in Malaysia – the adaptation of Liar, commissioned by Astro from Malaysian indie, Double Vision, and slated to premiere in November this year.
Published in ContentAsia September 2022 magazine