August 16, 2014 01:00
By Watchiranont Thongtep
Huge potential seen for content exports
TV Asahi Corp, Japan’s leading television broadcaster, aims to make Thailand its top market in terms of content exports by the end of next year, mainly due to the expansion of terrestrial-based digital-TV channels in the country.
“We see a huge opportunity to export animation, variety, drama and game shows to the Thai market in the near future. Until now, ‘Doraemon’, ‘Ninja Hattori’ and ‘Crayon Shin-Chan’ have reflected our great success in Thailand,” Gengo Sunami, executive director in charge of the business division and administration division at TV Asahi, said yesterday.
The arrival of 24 digital-TV broadcasters creates new demands in the Thai broadcasting industry, after having been dominated by a handful of players for many decades. The dramatic change in the industry is also offering opportunities to and luring many international media powerhouses to provide content to local TV-channel operators, he said.
Sunami acknowledged that the competition among international players to serve the Kingdom’s 22-million households was now intense.
“Given the potential in the market, we believe Thailand will become a top overseas market in terms of TV content distribution,” he added.
Motoko Nakai, manager of the company’s international business department, said Thailand currently ranked third for TV Asahi in terms of exported TV content with 300 hours per year, after Taiwan with 500 hours and Hong Kong with 350 hours.
This means that in order for the local market to achieve No-1 status within a year, TV Asahi must export more than 500 hours of its drama, animation, variety and game shows to Thailand, he said.
Thailand currently contributes about 15 per cent of the company’s overseas income. TV Asahi expects to see a 10-percentage-point increase next year, Nakai said.
Apart from exporting its most popular programmes to the Thai market, TV Asahi also wants to bring intellectual property-related businesses to Thai audiences via its strategic partner, Kantana Group. Those businesses include on-ground events and merchandise distribution, he said.
Bringing a new version of “Crayon Shin-Chan” – commonly known as “Shin Chan” – for broadcast on MCOT’s Modernine TV channel next month is one example of such a move under the partnership between TV Asahi and Kantana Group, said the executive director.
Sasikorn Chansate, chief executive of Kantana’s TV business, said Kantana Group would organise a series of events related to this animation series, in line with selling merchandise related to the series.
Asked about further investment in the Kingdom, Sunami said the country was a potential market for additional investment by the company.