At 20 The Market is Reaching Drinking Age, And Not One Minute Too Soon.


First the trivia: The Asia TV Forum (ATF) opened its doors on December 4, 2019--the same day that CBS re-merged with Viacom after a 14-year separation.

An additional bit of trivia is a sort of Christmas miracle witnessed in the corridors of the huge Sands Convention Centre that housed the trade show. Christmas carols were not blasted 24/7 throughout the space, as has happened during past ATFs.

It is also worth noting that, this time around, the ATF official market daily devoted more printed pages to market-floor activities than conferences. In the past, it hardly acknowledged that the content sales floor actually existed.

Then there was the Typhoon Kammuri, which didn't reach Singapore, but instead hovered over the Philippines just as the ATF was about to stare, disrupting at least 17 flights between the two states, and delaying the arrival of Filipino buyers.

One Turkish exhibitor pointed out to VideoAge that this edition of the ATF saw more sellers than buyers. Officially, "there were 5,713 executives from 60 countries, 1,046 content buyers and 783 seller companies." However, the ATF Guide listed 555 buyers from 311 companies.

What cannot be contested, though, was the large number of pavilions. There were a total of 17 from 12 countries, including the ever-present French pavilion, which consisted of 37 selling companies.

The largest number of exhibitors from outside Singapore came from South Korea (70 distributors with 31 buying companies), followed by China (with 53 distributors but only 24 buying companies), and Japan (with 51 sellers and 20 buying companies).

Other large sellers included: The U.S. (with 30 companies), the U.K. (with 26 companies), Turkey (with 20 companies), and Hong Kong (with 18 companies). The ATF Guide listed 400 exhibiting companies (officially, the final figure climbed to 783), including all the U.S. studios (except for NBCUniversal, which attended as a participant and did without its usual suite).

Valerie Cabrera of AMC Studios attended the ATF for the first time. She flew from her homebase of Los Angeles to "see the market first-hand in order to determine future participation."

Vanessa Cruz of Miami, Florida-based HBO Latin America attended this year for the second time, having found her first experience at last year's ATF to be worthwhile. However, she decried the fact that her company was not included in the market guide.

The presence of HBO Latin America brought back the loss of other LATAM companies, many...

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