The Asian Academy Creative Awards are gearing up for their second edition, taking place next month in Singapore. The brainchild of Michael McKay (who is also president of activeTV), the event was launched last year to honor the best content being produced across the Asia Pacific.
“We’re building an industry organization in our region that people can be proud of,” McKay says.
The event is structured in two parts. In the first, executives and creatives from Australia and New Zealand, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam vote on the best submissions from within their own territories in more than 40 different categories. The regional winners will vie for the top honors to be presented at the Grand Awards and Gala Final in Singapore on December 5 and 6, voted on by a jury of media executives from across the globe.
“We have judges from the U.S., Canada, South America, U.K.—all over the world,” McKay says. “We do that for a couple of reasons. It gives us a wider opinion. But it also means that we’re showing off the work of AsiaPac content producers and creatives to the rest of the world. It has a two-fold benefit there.”
But to get to the final rounds, “an entrant has to be judged by their peers to be the very best in their own nation or territory,” McKay says. The full list of regional winners—announced at MIPCOM and available here—included Singapore’s Mediacorp, Astro in Malaysia, GMA and ABS-CBN in the Philippines, Japan’s NHK and Korea’s CJ ENM. Pan-regional platforms to have landed wins included HBO Asia, HOOQ, Viu, Netflix and Amazon Prime.
“We have a lot more country winners this year—we went from 280 to 340,” McKay says of the 2019 edition. “And the quality has been tremendous. What I love is you get some surprise categories. Last year the animation categories were a great battle. This year I’m tipping the documentary categories to be the ones that pop. The competition in scripted fare is another one to look forward to, and there are some excellent formats in the best adaptation category.”
The ceremony is moving to a new location this year, Singapore’s historic Victoria Theatre. “It’s the original town hall in Singapore,” McKay notes. “It goes back to the 1860s. Then it became a theater. In 1963 it was the pilot venue for television in Singapore. It seems like the natural place to have the awards. And we’re doing two nights of red carpet pre-show cocktails, two hours of theater-style awards and two nights of after-parties.”
The streaming platform HOOQ will carry the awards in Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, and exclusively in Indonesia. E! Entertainment channel will deliver red carpet coverage across the region. The terrestrial channel ViuTVsix will broadcast the awards in Hong Kong. Live coverage will be available in Singapore on Mediacorp’s digital platform Toggle and in Malaysia on Media Prima’s tonton. The awards will also be streamed in Vietnam on BHD’s Danet.
The Asian Academy Creative Awards take place during the Singapore Media Festival and also include two days of conference panels featuring some of the regional winners. “You’re hearing from and meeting the best of the best,” McKay says. “That throws up a lot of co-production opportunities.”