Hui Leng Yeow, group project director at RX Singapore, talks to World Screen about what’s in store for this year’s Asia TV Forum & Market, which returns to the Marina Bay Sands December 7 to 9 with its first in-person event since 2019.
“We have been looking forward to the return of a full physical event, so I’m happy to share that with the travel restrictions eased for entry into Singapore, we are finally able to make it happen after more than two years of hiatus,” says Yeow.
“Our operations team is now busy collaborating with event partners to ensure a safe comeback edition for all our attendees. Though the wearing of face masks is currently optional in Singapore (except for public transport and healthcare facilities) and life is back to almost pre-Covid times with international trade shows and conferences opening every other week, ATF will nonetheless take every precaution to make sure everyone is well taken care of.”
She adds that the team is encouraged by the overwhelming responses to the market, as the buyer registration number is currently almost on par with pre-Covid times. “ATF is one of the few content markets to happen physically in Asia this year, so the industry is eager to resume business as usual. Moreover, people, businesses and dynamics have evolved over the last few years, making it extremely important to now meet as many people as possible on the ground come December. This is so the industry can start 2023 with new perspectives and renewed confidence.”
While there were some challenges in terms of execution and user adoption in delivering a digital format for ATF in the last two years, it gave the organizer an opportunity to reach a broader audience, Yeow says. “At the same time, pushing us to go beyond the boundaries in rethinking ways to add value to our participants, it has positioned us for a future-ready ATF, where physical and digital can go hand-in-hand.”
ATF Online+ will continue to be offered as a complement to ATF’s in-person event. The online extension will serve as a platform to extend the digital presence of sellers to showcase programs, as well as to facilitate scheduling meetings with prospective partners.
“While many of us have gotten used to the ‘new normal’ of doing business online, it was apparent that the spark and excitement of interactions and building relationships in person, especially with new connections, cannot be fully replicated with a digital edition,” Yeow says.
Touting the tagline “If it’s Asia, it’s ATF,” the event has become a must-attend entertainment market for executives keen to feel the pulse of Asia’s entertainment content industry, Yeow says. It gathers a majority of the Asian brands and executives from different Asian markets to meet and reconnect.
This year, the theme is “Content is Still King,” emphasizing the idea that good, quality content transcends boundaries, even the pandemic, and remains the driving force of any successful studio or platform.
In line with this, ATF has a curated three-day conference, including discussions and showcases that will focus on exclusive insights and strategic visions for 2023—what this means in the evolution of the industry today, its creative challenges and the ingenuity of business models. “With the rise of Asian content globally, we hope to facilitate conversations among participants for collaborating, acquiring, co-producing and financing opportunities for future projects,” says Yeow.
Two new pitches are being launched this year, one in partnership with Vidio, looking at the Indonesian market, and another with Warner Bros. Discovery as global sponsor, in search of drama concepts for the Thai market. They run alongside the ATF Chinese Pitch, which has been held in partnership with GHY since 2018.
“The past couple of years have been challenging for many of us, so we are humbled and grateful to have the industry’s continuous support for ATF as a trusted and proven platform,” Yeow says. “As ATF returns to a fully in-person event this December, the ATF team looks forward to saying ‘hi’ in person when we meet in Singapore.”