There was a time when certain genres and programming appealed to some territories but not others, a time when scripted series and movies from the studio ruled, traditional documentaries were sacrosanct, and unscripted forms like factual entertainment and reality were poor cousins at best. Genre and topic-driven content were critically important while one-offs, specials and mini-series were highly sought after. And the area of formats was largely identified by shiny-floor shows, talent and competition shows.
Today, the international television landscape has changed dramatically, and it will continue to change even more rapidly over the coming years. Around the world, unscripted programming is driving greater audiences than ever before – even more than scripted in many cases. Series are king, volume is golden, and one-offs, specials and minis are important bit players.
However, fresh original ideas are getting harder to find as broadcasters continue to fight tooth and nail for every last eyeball, trying to anticipate seismic shifts in viewing habits, combat the dispersal of eyeballs to new platforms, and overcome challenges in the sheer economics of business. With all these pressures, there has never been a better time to truly embrace formats in a way we have not seen before.
Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Networks, Asia proved itself a global leader in unscripted programming and has been hugely successful at inventing and reinventing genres, finding new and different ways to explore all sorts of worlds. SPT’s AXN is a leader of regionally produced original content in Asia, with notable ratings successes including five seasons of the international Emmynominated The Amazing Race Asia; the Asian Television Award-winning Cash Cab Asia and Cash Cab Philippines;The Apprentice Asia; Cyril: Rio Magic; Cyril’s Family Vacation: Hawaii Edition; and the Asian Television Awardnominated Cyril: Simply Magic.
Sony’s AXN channel is the home of Asia’s Got Talent, Season Two, the record-breaking series that premiered first on this channel in 2015. Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia announced the multi-year agreement with FremantleMedia International and Syco Entertainment for the rights early this year. The agreement forms part of SPT Networks’ long term strategy to further build on its pipeline of successful original productions.
“AXN is the home of high quality original productions that are made in Asia, for Asians. We were the first channel to premiere a localised, Pan-Regional format 10 years ago and since then have consistently rolled out original productions that truly resonate with our viewers. This year, we’ll be expanding our slate tofeature an AXN programming lineup that’s even more locally relevant with a bigger focus on social media engagement,” said Virginia.
The appeal of programming today is less about genres and more about Asian or universal themes that reflect what’s happening socially orshine a light on existing little-known worlds. The demand for unscripted has been driven by the explosion of character-driven programming that gives audiences a fly-on-the-wall peek into people’s lives – either contrived or authentic. Unscripted plays like scripted these days, highly produced with intriguing characters arcs arcs and storytelling that creates tension, drama and good old fashioned entertainment.
Ganesh Rajaram, General Manager / EVP, FremantleMedia International,Asia said, “Asia’s Got Talent season one was one of the most successful talent shows to have aired in the region. It has become the benchmark for talent shows in the Pan-Regional space. We are thrilled to have secured this multi-year partnership with Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia and are confident that the new seasons will be tremendously successful.”
George Levendis, Head of International at Syco Entertainment, said, “The first series of Asia’s Got Talent was an undeniable smash on AXN and brought together wonderful talent from twenty markets, making it one of the most engaging, fun and exciting productions globally. With the Got Talent franchise now reaching over 70 commissions across the world we are extremely pleased to see Got Talent back on air on AXN this October as part of this multi-year agreement.”
Asia’s biggest and most recognised talent competition show on television welcomes Traveloka as its partner in the second season of AXN’s hitrated series. The record-breaking series returns to AXN this October, entertaining viewers with 10 episodes comprising five judges’ auditions, three semi-finals, the finale and the results show where the winner will be revealed, and awarded a cash prizeof USD 100,000 from Traveloka. This season, Traveloka will also be presenting the ‘Traveloka Awards’. This is Traveloka’s initiative to give an award to the selected winner who has the most inspiring story across the region.
Traveloka is probably the largest online travel company in the region with about 1,000 supporting staffs. Since 2015, it started to expand into Southeast Asia countries with presence in 6 Southeast Asia countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and The Philippines.
Traveloka’s Senior Vice President for Business Development, Christian Suwarna said, “Traveloka is excited to partner Asia’s Got Talent where we see a mutual partnership value between Traveloka and the show. Every day, millions of people would open the Traveloka App as the first step of making their travel dreams come true. It offers a user-friendly booking experience and a wide range of flight and accommodation options at great prices. As the leading app for all hotel and flight needs in Southeast Asia, we are excited to empower the region’s talent as well as their journey to success with the support of their families and friends.”
Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia felt Traveloka is an appropriate partner for the format. “We are thrilled to welcome Traveloka to the Asia’s Got Talent family season two. AXN’s strength is in creating powerful original productions that resonate with audiences, and then seamlessly integrating partner brands for maximum impact. We look forward to working with Traveloka to realize the dreams of our aspiring performers as they embark on the Asia’s Got Talent journey to stardom,” said Jacqueline Tok, Vice President, Media andSponsorship Sales at Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia.