C-Suite spotlight: Alon Shtruzman of Keshet International
Leading global content producer and distributor Keshet International (KI) has recently announced a raft of finished tapes for scripted titles in Asia. Titles such as Prisoners of War India, Our Boys, Secret Bridesmaids’ Business, The Brave, and The Trial of Christine Keeler have been snapped up by Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVODs), including Mola TV in Indonesia and Now TV in Hong Kong. The company is also set to announce sales of Killer Camp and Singletown, along with other factual and entertainment shows from Keshet’s UK-based Greenbird indies.
With the announcement of these sales, Alon Shtruzman, the CEO of Keshet International told Television Asia Plus that the appetite for scripted content is present in Asia, but observed a resurgence of interest in non-scripted formats.
Citing Netflix as an example, Alon said that the streaming platform is pivoting towards cost-effective and quick turnaround formats like The Circle and feel-good genres like dating and entertainment formats.
“This is a trend we are seeing around the world, particularly in Europe and the UK, with relationship reality format Singletown, which is getting renewed in Denmark and being picked up in new territories all the time, and we will be announcing three new local adaptations soon,” Alon commented.
Meanwhile, in Asia, KI has recently licensed Domination, which Alon described as a “very COVID-safe game show that challenges a whole nation in Vietnam,” and the singing talent show, Rising Star, which is returning for a fourth and third season in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, respectively.
Investing in productions
Alon shared that KI currently has two global shows in progress for Apple TV: Suspicion, the False Flag adaptation starring Uma Thurman that is being produced in the UK by Keshet Productions; and Echo 3, the When Heroes Fly adaptation produced by Keshet Studios in the US.
Meanwhile, Keshet International is due to start shooting the eight-part crime drama Diamonds for Netflix in Belgium with De Mensen. The series was co-created by Rotem Shamir and Yuval Yefet, the team behind KI’s latest Israeli hit, Line In The Sand, which was renewed by Keshet 12.
Following the success of The Trial of Christine Keeler, and Secret Bridesmaids, other projects in the pipeline include Furia and Summer of Sorrow, which shooting in Finland. Lastly, Keshet Studios’ La Brea – currently in production in Australia – has just been slated to premiere Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC this Fall.
Digitising amidst COVID-19
With COVID-19 restrictions limiting face-to-face interactions, KI has been adapting well amidst changing times. Alon shared that his company has been well-prepared for the pandemic, hosting their first virtual preview event for buyers in March where the company showcased its Spring slate as part of the London TV Screenings. Mounting their event virtually has allowed KI to reach hundreds of buyers from all over the world, speeding up the company’s plan to shift from a traditional brick-and-mortar approach of having physical stands at markets to creating their own bespoke digital presentations as their preferred way of launching new content.
Alon said, “There is obviously nothing like being able to catch up face-to-face, but while travel is restricted and we’re still working from home, video calls have allowed us to conduct our entire development and sales process online, and honestly, we’ve never achieved so much.”
AVOD a bigger opportunity for Asia
Speaking about the general trends in Asia, Alon said that he believes AVOD offers a bigger opportunity in the region compared to SVOD, noting that AVOD has the potential to reach more people.
“I think AVOD is a better fit for Asia than any other model. In some markets, the CPMs (cost per thousand viewers) are higher now for AVOD than linear TV, meaning the value of AVOD could potentially eclipse that of broadcast,” Alon shared.
Alon said that KI has been working with the likes of Pluto TV, Little Dot, Tubi TV and other AVOD platforms elsewhere on bespoke packages of scripted and non-script content with great success. The chief executive is keen on establishing similar partnerships with AVOD platforms across Asia as well.
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