Timur Weinstein, General Producer, NTV Russia

Timur Weinstein, General Producer, NTV Russia

What are your top 3 priorities for distribution of your content in Asia in 2020?

"For us, the first priority is our ready-made shows. We’ve been investing in subtitling our series, and are ready to provide our buyers with English subtitles at the very least. 

"The second priority is our scripted formats. We believe that our formats have a great potential in Asia, because the world is hungry for original stories that convey universal values. NTV projects feature lots of action, strong characters, and unpredictable plot twists and it makes them easily adaptable for any market. We offer more than 100 series, with 80% of them completely ready for adaptation.

"Speaking of formats as well as ready-made products, the advantage of our series is their relatively short seasons (8-20 episodes) that are suitable for Asian markets in terms of TV and online line-up’s compatibility.

"The third priority is our non-scripted projects. There is just a handful of them, but they all have excellent marketing potential, that already comes into fruition."

Did the Asia market live up to expectations in terms of acquisition in 2019?

"We started pursuing our overseas marketing strategy only a few years ago. We realise that Asian market is rather complicated in several aspects like communication difficulties and our brand awareness. At the same time, there are examples of very successful run of Russian movies and animated series in Asia. Therefore, we also see a marketing potential for Russian TV-series.

In 2019 we established partnerships with Indian companies. GoQuest Media acquired rights for “Paper Pusher” and “The Policeman’s Wife” TV series, including format rights. We think that Indian buyers are now pressing forward and are interested in new ideas to adapt.

We see a great potential in Asian VOD platforms. Now we’re are finalising negotiations with major platforms - Huawei and iflix - to stream several of our war-themed series. Chinese platform Bilibili already acquired rights for our series “Schubert”."

What do you think will have the biggest influence on acquisition of your content in Asia in 2020?

"The more we attend local markets the better. Of course, on global content markets like Mipcom we can meet buyers from Asia, but many major players are not represented there. So the first goal is to establish our brand awareness in Asia. We’re completely sure of our content’s quality, but Asian buyers need to know us better.

Then we’re really focused on VOD platforms of the region. This market is growing rapidly, with more and more companies getting into the game. We hope to find new partners from Asia on this year’s ATF."

Excerpts of this interview were published in ContentAsia's print issue for the ATF in Singapore in December 2019