‘It’s time to step up the creation of local content for global audiences’

fotiniAsia has an opportunity to create quality and innovative local content for global export, says Endemol Shine Asia’s Fotini Paraskakis, who argues the region has never had it so good

As the media industry moves further towards globalisation, what does this mean for content in Asia and, in particular, for our home-grown products?

Exciting times do lie ahead for our local content creation. In fact, we’ve never had it so good.

The explosion of channels, platforms and technology, coupled with the sheer size of the population naturally leads to more access and more content.

Over the last decade, Asia has looked towards the West for successful, quick content solutions, built on a model of sponsorship and commercialisation. The current industry climate, however, remains largely conservative and still driven by sponsors with high KPI and ratings performance targets, leaving broadcasters and producers little room for content experimentation or creation.

With perpetual tight budgets plus deadlines surrounding content delivery, broadcasters and OTT platforms continue to look towards fast and guaranteed solutions, with little or no risk.

The UK, Netherlands and USA lead the world in IP creation, kick-starting the exponential growth of the Asian formats business.

Popular formats such as Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Idols, Deal or No Deal and Masterchef have been built as strong brands and platform mainstays across the region, with investment fully focused on these core tent poles, allowing in the past no real incentive for growth in local content business streams.

With the increased abundance of choice and eruption of platforms within Asia, it is clear, however, that international formats alone are just not able to meet local market requirements. Cultural differences, discrepancies in available budgets, advertising and consumer needs have led to local platforms turning to home-grown creators for fresh, new and locally relevant content solutions that meet specific demands – resulting in a growing Asian formats and content market of it’s own. This has been led by Korea.

At the other end of the spectrum, traditional IP creation markets are beginning to struggle to meet increased demands for content output, with industry heads now looking further afield for their next big ideas.

Past successes include Fuji Japan’s partnership with Fremantlemedia on global hit Hole in the Wall and CJ Media Korea’s recent successful sale, Better Late Than Never, to NBC in the USA.


NBC has started making Better Late Than Never following a deal with Korea’s CJ Media

Such achievements, however, have been limited as international content powerhouses constantly compete for IP ownership. The value is now more in pursuing new global partnerships with fresh perspectives on content, in search for future blockbusters. This presents ample opportunities for Asian originated content to travel across borders.

Global content powerhouses are placing more emphasis than ever before on developing local content to go global. With more resources in local IP origination being placed across more territories globally, it is only a matter of time before this strategy begins to pay off.

With EndemolShine, this process has already been set in motion with some big steps taken recently in co-development partnership with CJ&M Korea. Our goal from the outset was to create a format from within Asia that would be relevant both locally and internationally.

The result, The Society Game, aired successfully on TvN in Korea, was our headlining title at Mipcom 2016 and has generated strong interest in the USA, UK, Europe and Asia. Through this experience, we have further refined our long-term strategy for cross border content creation aiming to produce more quality and innovative content from within Asia for global export.


The ease of technology and content accessibility has given rise to a diverse range of creators that are globally more intuitive, imaginative and locally relevant, harnessing audiences across a plethora of platforms. As global content providers continue to dip their toes in Asia, Asian creators now need to move more towards guaranteeing their stake in the international IP equation.

The UK currently leads the charge as the most prolific and successful territory for IP creation, as the industry is based less on direct advertiser risk, organically promoting originality and experimentation. Only 5%, however, of all show ideas generated in the UK make their way to local series commissions and even less to successful international formats, keeping the industry both at home and abroad still very much a numbers’ game in terms of quality output.

If we are to create a successful export IP industry here in Asia, we therefore need to invest in local creativity, resources, be commercially flexible and commit to our content creation environment for the long-term.

Our market is diverse, innovative and can-do, but we need to get behind it and show the world what we have in hand – talent, talent and more talent.

Fotini Paraskakis is managing director of EndemolShine Asia



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