This story appears in the December 2020 issue of Television Asia Plus.

In the first part of this feature story, media executives from BBC Studios, Viu, and Bilibili shared their thoughts on what’s next for content in 2021. Below, Television Asia Plus interviewed three broadcasters on their point-of-view for what’s coming ahead for content in 2021.

Broadcasters

Bangkok Broadcasting & TV Co., Ltd.

yaowalak poolthong bbtv
Yaowalak Poolthong, Ph.D. Courtesy of BBTV.

Yaowalak Poolthong, Ph.D., Managing Director, Bangkok Broadcasting & T.V. Co., Ltd.

On content trends of 2020 vs 2021:

Content will still be the most important part of the entertainment business. Viewers nowadays rarely limit themselves to any particular TV channels or OTT platforms but rather enjoy the power to choose content that suits their interests, instead of having any specific trend. In 2021, we will continue to see more variety of content whether it is new formats or new types of stories as well as improvements in existing ones. It will certainly be another exciting year as broadcasters and platforms need to provide content that attracts and keeps viewers glued to their service in an environment of rapidly changing consumer behavior.

The forester BBTV
Bangkok Broadcasting & T.V. Co., Ltd.’s ‘The Forester’ enjoyed high ratings in Thailand. Courtesy of BBTV.

Content strategy for 2021:

BBTV will continue its mission to maintain Channel 7HD as Thailand’s No.1 TV station despite the rapidly changing market and audience behavior. Not only keeping our existing audiences but we also aim to reach a wider range of viewers both urban and rural areas.

One of our key focuses is to keep rolling out our own high-quality in-house content including news, entertainment programs, and drama series. Our selection of drama series has been particularly strong. We’ve had many titles that were successful both offline and online this year such as The Forester and Enemy Chains, which reached the highest ratings of 10.73 and 8.12, respectively. We are keen to continue this phenomenon and create an even stronger impact in 2021. At the same time, acquisitions of foreign content will add variety to our program offerings. 

With carefully selected content, we believe we can convince our viewers to stay tuned to CH7HD.

CJ ENM

cj enm hk michael jung
Michael Jung. Courtesy of CJ ENM HK.

Michael Jung, Managing Director, CJ ENM HK

On content trends of 2020 vs 2021:

With more (and expanding) Direct-to-Consumers streaming platforms in 2021, we will see increased investment in Korean content which has proven to resonate with audiences worldwide. This increased investment will boost the quality and production value, and we see it as a very positive sign that the Hallyu Wave will be more robust than before.

Content strategy for 2021:

We will continue to acquire and create compelling stories and be innovative in content strategy. For example, apart from a more competitive streaming landscape, the world is moving towards 5G uptake, hence, digital content that is differentiated for mobile users will stand out for us. 

At the same time, we will invest in creating local premium content such as drama series and lifestyle, which will be made primarily for streaming or online consumption. High-quality local language content will make a big difference, especially in countries with a big population and appetite for local content.

GMA

gma felipe l gozon
Felipe L. Gozon. Courtesy of GMA.

Felipe L. Gozon, Chairman and CEO, GMA Network Inc.

On content trends of 2020 vs 2021:

This year, the primary trend we observed was the rise of consumption of News such as newscasts, televised broadcast of radio news, and public affairs content like Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho. Our flagship newscast, 24 Oras, stretched to two hours to address the needs of viewers in search of information about the COVID-19 pandemic. The very high ratings of our newscasts and news magazine shows were likewise matched by very strong advertising support.

In the temporary absence of production due to the pandemic, we have also observed that there is a clamor for the classics: past titles that already made their mark. These reruns are more fitting as people tend to look back to life before the pandemic.

As for our entertainment programs, the limitations on production brought about by the COVID-19 safety protocols have given rise to more intimate dramas with fewer cast and condensed stories with shorter telecast runs. This was seen in GMA Drama’s recent I Can See You series offerings, which were well-received by the Filipino audience. Some themes were more varied or experimental and were a welcome change from the usual soap opera fare, based on the audience reaction. We foresee this to continue, moving forward.

The Network is also gearing up for more varied entertainment formats in 2021, from comedy to game shows to musicals and talent searches. The audience can also expect new technologies applied to the way content is delivered on television and online, as will be seen in Alden Richards’ concert, Alden’s Reality, which will be the first-ever virtual reality concert in the country.

Content strategy for 2021:

For 2021, local production continues to be our focus with several new local contents lined up.

These, however, are not only intended for the local market as we also continue to aim to distribute our content to different platforms and countries as well as to have co-production deals with different partners outside the Philippines. 

In addition, our Public Affairs group will be producing a slew of shorter run (eight-week long) dramatic series for a younger viewership. These shorter series will be aired on GMA News TV – which is targeting audiences that can be complementary and supplementary to our flagship channel GMA. New, young teams of creatives have been set up to produce these short series, which include titles such as The Lost Recipe, Love You Stranger, and Heartful Cafe.  

As for acquisition, we are actively widening our horizon for various foreign content.