The 21st Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), Asia’s leading entertainment content and conference capped off the first week of its digital edition ATF Online+, with 2,320 unique attendees from 60 countries and regions as of 4 December 2020. The platform is available on-demand until 28 February 2021.

ATF Online+ kicked off with an Opening Ceremony at the new state-of-the-art Hybrid Broadcast Studio located in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore on 1 December 2020. Mr. S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, Singapore officiated the launch in front of a physical audience of key industry players. The event was concurrently streamed live to a global audience watching via ATF Online+ and on Facebook. The ceremony was followed by a fireside chat between the Minister and Mr. Steven Chia, Presenter/Senior Editor of Channel News Asia, on the future of the media and entertainment industry, where he mentioned how companies need to create a wider variety of content, and the opportunities the Asian media market presents.

Business as usual at ATF Online+, with new connections made and deals announced

ATF Online+ 2020 saw 1,215 companies and 15 official pavilions participating, with 4,156 programmes presented on the platform. The first official four-days also saw more than 15,500 meetings arranged, underpinning ATF’s importance as a platform to facilitate business dealings. The meetings will continue until 28 February 2021.

ATF also continues to be a key year-end market where deals are sealed, with a host of partnerships and deals announced during the ATF week. Some of the announcements made during the week came from 7 Steps Production, iQiyi, ITV Studios, Mediacorp, Nippon TV, TechStorm, and WarnerMedia.

141 industry experts delivered insights at ATF Online+ sessions

This year’s conference saw a refreshed programme schedule, specifically tailored for the global online audience. Segmented into five broad areas that cut across 1 to 4 December, each component focused on bite-sized discussions specific to the various pillars within the industry.

Mornings with Industry Leaders – Decision-makers from the media, telecoms, and entertainment industry took centre stage in the morning, sharing insights and thought-leadership on navigating the tides ahead and staying relevant amidst the changes. Top executives who participated in the fireside chats included Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, Priya Dogra, President, WarnerMedia EMEA & Asia (excl. China), Dr. Michael Gryseels, President, True Digital Group and Jacques du Puy, CEO, CANAL+ International.

Lunchtime Buying – Key buyers took over the lunch hour sessions to give an insiders’ viewpoints and perspective on today’s buying strategies. Some of the panellists included Daphne Yang, CEO, CatchPlay, Maarten Meijs, President Global Entertainment, ITV Studios, Chao Gan, Vice President, Youku, Alibaba Media & Entertainment Group and Agustinus Bagus Abimanyu, Head of International Acquisition 3 TV, MNC Media, sharing strategies in the dramas, formats, kids and docs spaces.

Coffee Hour Content Showcase – This segment saw top sellers from China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Turkey showcasing the latest entertainment content and industry updates, together with a spread of scripted and unscripted formats opened for contracts for the industry.

Production Afternoons – Format experts, creative leaders, and decision-makers took the afternoon to address issues and present user cases to advance production capabilities in the industry. Some of the speakers that took the virtual stage include Seo Hye-jin, Executive Director, TV Chosun, Yi Seung-jun, Founder, Director & Producer, Bluebird Pictures, and Evelina Lye, Head of Regional Marketing, Media Partnerships APAC Entertainment, News & Sports, Facebook.

Southeast Asian Film Financing Forum (SAFF Forum) – The annual film-focused forum rounded off the four-day event with discussions on Southeast Asian partnership in media – cutting across content, connectivity, and capability. Among those who took part were Abhi Rastogi, CEO & Founder, 108 Media, Elliot Renton, Senior Director & Head of APAC, Grabyo, and Rashid Karim, CEO, Iskandar Malaysia Studios.

Active engagements and feedback from the industry

Attendees were actively involved in the digital journey, and generous in communicating feedback of the platform, which included the following:

– Carl D-Broughton, Producer, Manque: After crippling lockdowns and the global industry coming to a standstill, the online ATF was quite the godsend! The pricing was fair, the matching system worked well and the chat/messaging function made communicating easy. I confess to missing most of the conferences, but there’s the ‘catch-up’ option and, with the system available until the end of February, I’m still able to make new connections. In fact, given how these events usually end when everyone goes home, this ability to reach out for several weeks afterward may yet prove to be crucial.

– Harry Kyoungwon, Manager, Gyeonggi Content Agency: Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, ATF Online+ has successfully linked content and media professionals with an easy and stable platform. With this platform, exhibitors could easily learn how to communicate with buyers and manage their video meetings. Hope to visit real Singapore next year!

– Rachel Wong, Assistant Commissioning Editor, Mediacorp: I really like the interface. It’s really easy to navigate.

Yeow Hui Leng, Group Project Director of ATF said, “We invited the industry to join our discussions on ‘Prelude to 2021’, the theme for ATF Online+ 2020. We are encouraged by the industry’s response, which shows the eagerness to engage towards a positive 2021. It also underscores the trust they placed on ATF to partner them to deliver the right leads and platform to continue doing so.”

Under the umbrella of the Singapore Media Festival, the next edition of ATF and ScreenSingapore is slated to return on 1 to 3 December 2021.