All3Media International’s Sabrina Duguet


AsiaPac has proven to be a strong market for All3Media International when it comes to remakes of its scripted hits, among them Liar and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Sabrina Duguet, executive VP for the Asia Pacific at All3Media International, tells TV Formats about the company’s booming scripted formats business across the region.

***Image***TV FORMATS: What’s driving the gains in your scripted formats business?
DUGUET: It’s been the strongest increase we’ve had in the business for the past few years. We are at around 15 scripted format commissions in Asia and another seven or eight in development. Out of all the commissions, eight are in India. Our latest collaboration is with Banijay on the scripted format Rellik from Two Brothers Pictures. Many Two Brothers formats have been adapted in India; they love their writing, and having their names at the end of the credits gets the show sold. People want a scripted format to access incredible writers and scripts. It started with dark crime series, and now it’s moving lighter. So crime, but not where crime is the only focus. Shows like The Missing, which is crime but also a family drama. We’re collaborating with BBC Studios India on another Two Brothers show, Strangers, aka White Dragon. Crime is one element, but other things are happening. We’re also looking at family dramas and comedies. We’ve had Step Dave, which was commissioned in China.

The success has been a mix of the market needing it, in terms of more local productions in Asia, with all the VOD platforms wanting to attract new audiences and needing a lot of scripted series as quickly as possible, and adapting formats is a way to fast-track that. Our offering has never been better, and the demand has never been higher. That has created a great business opportunity.

While India has been the biggest so far, we’ve done several in China, confirmed our first in Korea, and the biggest development has been in Southeast Asia. We did Liar in Malaysia, and there are several others we’ll announce soon.

TV FORMATS: Are you retaining the rights to the local versions so you can distribute those as finished tape?
DUGUET: The first big success we had in that was with the adaptation of an Australian series called Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries that we adapted in China for Tencent. The international sales have been pretty incredible. Also, a lot of the Indian series we’ve done recently, we’ve had offers from several territories around the world. So it’s a double opportunity here. First, in adapting the formats, creating and helping create a fantastic local version for our clients and partners. Then, on the back of that, selling that local version, sometimes in collaboration with the partners.

TV FORMATS: You’ve also staffed up your team in Asia.
DUGUET: At the beginning of the year, we created three new roles, so we have more resources to cover all the new business. We hired Jaenani Netra to oversee India. Amanda Pe covers all of Southeast Asia. Tony Ziran Tang joined us from BBC Studios, and he covers North Asia. It’s a great reflection of the growth of the business.

TV FORMATS: What’s happening on the entertainment formats front?
DUGUET: Years ago, the format deals were on the non-scripted side, and then it shifted to scripted. It’s not just in Asia; in the rest of the world, VOD platforms want to get new subscribers, and they attract them with scripted. However, you need to retain them and diversify, and scripted content can be costly. Non-scripted is a fantastic step to do that. We have a strong increase in interest and demand for non-scripted formats. The Traitors has helped that conversation. It’s an international hit. I’m hoping to announce some of those deals around ATF. But also key brands like Cash Cab and other smaller budget formats with strong track records. While studio entertainment still works, we are seeing some interesting conversations with clients willing to do something different, like Gogglebox. It is a huge success in Mongolia. There’s demand from linear platforms but also the VODs.

TV FORMATS: And what’s driving your finished program sales?
DUGUET: It’s a bit of a mix. A lot of the pan-Asia channels have shut down. These traditionally covered a lot of non-scripted acquisitions. We have started to pivot to other parts of the business. When the global VOD platforms started in Asia, they wanted to look at local content; they went hyper-local. But they also had to diversify by acquiring content from abroad. Drama has always done quite well. The key territories have not changed; Japan is always strong, there’s been decent business in China, and also with the safer non-scripted: history, wildlife and science. In India, the focus has been less on the tape because of the increase in local production, but key brands still work really well. Anything with Gordon Ramsay works. VOD platforms know they don’t need to promote it much because viewers will find it. We have Kitchen Nightmares season eight, Gordon Ramsay’s Future Food Stars in the U.K., and we’re launching in Australia with Gordon on Nine Network.