Keshet Media Group’s global distribution and production arm, Keshet International (KI), headed by CEO Alon Shtruzman, is specifically tasked to expand its operations worldwide. Early this year KI opened its new office in Mexico City as it seeks to expand its local production capabilities for the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets. KI has also earmarked Singapore as its next launch pad to the rest of Asia. Kelly Wright, Head of Latin America and Executive Advisor for Asia-Pacific said the organisation has moved from simply selling formats into Asia to much more of a two way-street – acquiring local IP for international distribution and co-developing formats with local partners – with ambitious plans to move into production of original content in the region. Kelly shares her cross-border strategy with K. Dass.
When we started KI about 4 years ago, there were no sales to Asia. Today we are present in almost every major territory in Asia from Japan down to Singapore and Indonesia. We are a global distribution and production group and we’re able to introduce universal content which is coming out of our creative development teams in the U.S., U.K., Mexico and of course Israel, to Asia. Our strategy moving forward is to produce our own content in Asia too.
IKI is known for its formats, but the bulk of our revenue comes from finished tape. We are growing the amount of content we acquire and we’re interested in picking up series – whether they are formats or finished series from Asia – to distribute within the region and outside of it. We’ve had a lot of success distributing foreign language series, the best example of which is Prisoners of War, the original version of Homeland, which has aired in more than 20 different territories around the world including Japan, Australia and Brazil. We are uniquely placed, not being a strictly American studio or huge conglomerate, to cherry-pick and promote content we can stand behind from both creative and commercial perspectives. KI’s distribution network has the proficiency to distribute foreign language content for Asian companies into Europe, Latin America and North America, because of our unique expertise in selling shows in Hebrew. So, we are confident that we can handle content in Mandarin, Bahasa and any other language.
For the past couple of years, KI has been steadily acquiring Asian content into its catalogue. We are distributing an entertainment format from China called Not a Star Yet, which is produced by Zhejiang Satellite TV and Man Birth, a Group M show which airs in Singapore on Mediacorp’s channel 5 and in China on Beijing TV. We also distribute two K-drama titles – Spy and You Will Love Me – and Star India’s adaptation of Prisoners of War. These shows are just beginning their international journeys and we greatly anticipate strong sales tracks for them.
In Asia, the strategy now is to create more originals. 2017 will see the start of KI producing its own content in Asia. It’ll be Pan-Regional content, potentially out of Singapore as we are setting up a production facility here, though we’re also looking at production hubs in the big territories across the region. The production entity will cover scripted and non scripted. As a production company, we would not only be focusing on Keshet’s catalogue shows alone, but also developing original Asian IP for local audiences and producing third party content too.