Cultural similarities between Europe and Asia might not immediately spring to mind but it’s a curious aspect of the global television trade that such differences don’t always preclude co-production or programme sales. Amanda Groom managing director of the Bridge delivers a fast track to Asian advantage, delivering global digital and traditional media access and implementation across Asia. She has already successfully built and delivered innovative Pan-Asian / UK / US global co-production models for NGW, NGCI, DNI, Scripps Interactive Networks (including Cooking Channel and Food Network, EMEA) and, in the UK, with Channel 4 and S4C. K. Dass reports.

It has been viewed as very challenging from the legal aspect of it. The contracts and the understanding, the cultural understandings are very different and there are different levels of transparency over budgets. This alarms the British broadcasters as they need to know where every single penny is being spent otherwise they are in trouble. For many years, the West has been trying to push the Western programmes to the Eastern audiences and the Eastern broadcasters were doing the same to their Western partners. The only way it will work is when it is co-produced with both markets in mind. Sometimes, you get a slight reversion for example in Korea, we always have to do the programmes in Korean language but as a whole, you still have a very similar programme which works in both markets with slight tweaking in the differences in voice.

Content that travels are science documentaries, natural environment programmes, social series about people’s lives are absolutely fascinating. Asia has a rich source of stories so it gets more and more attention on what is going on here. American producers were saying that Hollywood is now culturally bankrupt; it has run out of stories because they have told all their stories. Of course, that doesn’t mean, they would come to Asia immediately but I am being asked about the big Asian stories by the U.S. studios. It will be years before they do it but it’s definitely a change of seat. Now they are asking me about the Asian stories, it’s like suddenly they noticed Asia. And when it works for Asian nations, then, of course, the big American audiences gets interested as well. This is also the reason why Korea has put so much money into programming. It has the cultural power which brings people to the country. Tourists started to visit Korea, increase their awareness and become more sophisticated. They realise Korea doesn’t just produce phones and there’s more to it. They start to view Korea in a much more balanced way. They realise that this is a country that has its own culture with a unique storytelling angle.

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