TV co-productions across borders boost Expo's pull

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 March, 2008, 12:00am

The television industry's role in the entertainment market - spurred by increasing numbers of international TV co-productions - is reflected in a huge leap in the number of exhibitors at Hong Kong's TV World exhibition, just a year after it was launched.

TV World - part of the Trade Development Council's annual Filmart fair - has seen a 50 per cent increase in entrants, not only from Asia but also the US, Britain, Spain, Iran, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

The council's service promotion manager, Keith Cheng Ka-chung, said a key reason for the increase in entrants, from 88 to 132, was more co-productions between TV stations in different countries.

'There are more TV co-productions, especially between Hong Kong and mainland China,' Mr Cheng said.

'The demand for TV programmes has also increased drastically because there are more channels available, which makes the TV market bigger.'

He said the growth in the number of TV channels in the region had strengthened the synergy between TV and films, because while TV channels demand more programmes, film companies also look for more outlets for their releases.

The increasing appetite for TV programmes in the region has also earned international interest, even from seemingly remote countries.

'Countries like Sweden and the Czech Republic are aiming for the Asian market, especially the mainland Chinese market. Their programmes, like documentaries, could be popular,' Mr Cheng said.

Sherman Lee Tak-kei, channel operations controller for TVBI, said international TV co-productions would become a major trend in Asia.

'For example, TVB has done co-productions with TV networks in mainland China, Singapore and even Thailand, and there will be a lot more of such co-productions to come in the region,' Mr Lee said.

Rohana Rozhan, chief executive officer of major Malaysian TV network Astro, which is co-producing the game show Super Trio Supreme for the first time with TVB, said the network was seeking more co-production opportunities extending to other programme types, such as dramas and variety shows.

'[These co-productions] allow Malaysian artists to reach the global arena and groom them into regional artists,' she said.

There was great demand in Malaysia for Chinese-language TV programmes, and although Chinese-language programmes could be imported from Hong Kong and the mainland, localisation of these programmes was important, she said.

'It's essential to have programmes featuring our local stars.'

Filmart runs until Thursday at the Convention and Exhibition Centre.