'Amazing Race Asia' Season 3 on AXN

Localization the way forward for the Sony-owned network

HONG KONG -- AXN on Friday launched the third season of "Amazing Race Asia" in Hong Kong, counting on local relevance to compel Asian viewers to watch, said Jack Lim, vp advertising sales and marketing at parent Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Shot in Asia and Europe, the series featured contestants from Hong Kong, Thailand, India, Korea, Singapore and the Philippines. The Asian promotional tour of Season 3 began in Hong Kong, after Bangkok, the original starting point, was ruled out because of political turmoil in the Thai capital.

"The performance of (boxing reality series) 'Contender Asia' and previous seasons of 'Amazing Race Asia' has surpassed expectations," Lim told The Hollywood Reporter.

Ratings in Asian markets for these two shows were higher than the ratings for the original U.S. versions when they were shown in Asia, "proving that original programming is the way forward for the network," he said.

In addition to running on AXN, the two previous seasons of "Amazing Race Asia" were syndicated to China, Malaysia and New Zealand. "Contender Asia" also has a broad appeal outside Asia in Sweden and Australia, Lim said.

Apart from adapting for Asia "Contender" and "Amazing Race" for AXN, SPE has been producing local content, including the animated TV movie "LaMB" for Animax.