Co-prod'n hot at Asia TV market

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Co-production is high on the agenda as Asia's annual television market opens today in Singapore, with many of the 216 registered buyers saying they are at the market looking for production partners in either film or television.

Companies with co-production ambitions range from Discovery Networks International, which is looking for HDTV opportunities, and Korea's Educational Broadcasting System to Taiwanese telecommunications company Chunghwa Telecom Co. Ltd. and Sri Lanka free TV broadcaster Derana.

The annual regional TV programming market is part of a weeklong series of major media events taking place during Singapore's Asia Media Festival. Confabs at the Media Festival also include the Media Financing Forum and the Asia Film Market and Conference and the Asia Animation Conference. An estimated 5,000 people are expected to attend the various confabs.

U.S. majors taking part in the TV market include NBC Universal Television Distribution, Sony Pictures Television International, Buena Vista International Television (Asia Pacific), CBS Paramount International Television and 20th Century Fox Distribution.

Distributors also said that, while they are focusing efforts at this market on traditional television distribution channels, they see opportunities in the digital-media market.

"We're very optimistic about digital platforms, including mobile, in the medium- to long-term," said James Ross, Granada International regional director for Asia.

FremantleMedia Enterprises CEO David Ellender said entertainment and reality were the focus for Asia at this market, followed by drama and factual programs.

FremantleMedia's slate this year includes new seasons of "American Idol," "The Apprentice" and "Project Runway" along with "Live From Abbey Road" and Janice Dickinson's new show, "The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency."

"Program licensing in Asia is on the increase," 20th Century Fox Television Distribution Asia vp Brendan Zauner said.

Zauner said this was driven by cable TV growth as well as by such digital platforms as IPTV, broadband TV and video-on-demand/pay-per-view.
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