Okinawa Fest Market Sets Sights on International TV

The Contents Bazaar links U.S. and Asian TV producers at the Okinawa International Movie Festival.

The Contents Bazaar, the industry market at the Okinawa International Movie Festival (OMIF), saw a series of meetings between U.S. producers represented by CAA, as well as television stations and production companies from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

A partnership between Yoshimoto Kogyo and CAA is already trying to sell quiz programs through pilots created in Japan, to the world market. The formats are a mix of shows that have run in Japan, such as YOU vs 7 (YOU vs AMERICA for worldwide sales), that aired on Fuji TV, and new properties that have been developed in collaborations between CAA and Japanese production companies and TV nets.

The English-language pilots in Japan (using mostly expat Western talent living in the country) was mainly economic, with it costing far less than making the shows in America, according to CAA's Hans Schiff.

Masi Oka (Heroes), who attended the event, is both the compere of one of the pilot shows and a consultant to the CAA-Yoshimoto partnership.

Format sales and co-productions have been the focus of the Japanese entertainment industry when it looks abroad, but there are other business models that haven't been explored,” said Hiroshi Osaki, CEO of Yoshimoto Kogyo, the talent agency which organizes the festival, at a press conference to launch the event. “Through partnerships such as our collaboration with our friends at Hollywood's CAA, we have been looking at other ways to target the global market.”

Johnny Yau of Media Plus, an Asian TV industry veteran, emphasized the increasing importance of the greater China TV market, spanning the mainland, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. There are currently 247 stations, 2164 channels, 187 million cable subscribers and 87 million digital IPTV subscribers,” explained Yau.

The increased demand for content from the growing number of satellite channels across the Asian region is creating a market that the companies at the Contents Bazaar are looking to tap. Lucks (666) is a 24-hour Thai comedy channel that was meeting with Japanese TV nets at the Contents Bazaar with a view to co-producing shows and shooting a film in Japan.

The Japanese TV companies were very open to ideas here, maybe because of the Yoshimoto Kogyo staff in every meeting. And the atmosphere is more relaxed than at other markets,” said Wim Manopimok, who was repping Lucks at the event, located just off the beach.

Twitter: @GavinJBlair