Title: vice president, programming, acquisition, TV, MediaCorp (Singapore)
Ahead of next month’s ATF market in Singapore, TBI spoke to key buyers in the region about their acquisitions strategy
Describe the profile of the channels for which you are buying.
MediaCorp’s Centralised Acquisitions team curates and acquires content rights for four out of seven of MediaCorp’s free-to-air channels, and Toggle, the OTT service.
Channel 8 is Singapore’s number one FTA channel, providing Chinese news and entertainment for the entire family. It is largely programmed with high-quality local content across all entertainment and infotainment genres.
Channel 5, the flagship English mass-entertainment and lifestyle channel for the entire family, is known for its high quality, innovative local productions, curated mix of award-winning international programmes, including dramas and variety, and blockbuster movies.
Channel U is a vibrant entertainment channel that embraces the aspirations of the discerning Singaporean by providing bold, enriching and inspiring local content, and the best entertainment content curated from around Asia.
Okto provides English-language content across the kids and arts/factual genres, and also carries curated sports programming.
Toggle is MediaCorp’s OTT interactive service that goes beyond the television set, bringing entertainment, lifestyle tips, news and information to viewers across multiple devices. The service is available online, on smartphones, tablets and connected TVs, allowing viewers to stay engaged wherever they are.
What is the mix of acquired and original content?
Channel 8’s schedule is driven primarily by original content, taking up almost 80% of primetime.
Channels U and okto currently have a high percentage of acquired content, on average 60-70% in the primetime schedule.
Channel 5 has just announced its new strategy to considerably increase its original content output in 2015.
Toggle has a small output of original content produced specially for the platform, and also carries the vast and popular MediaCorp library.
In terms of acquisitions, which distributors do you work with – is it the large US studios, the European distribution groups or local Asian distributors?
All of the above as we acquire a wide range of genres.
What have you acquired recently — what acquired shows are performing well for you?
On the Western content front, the US version of Minute to Win It performed well on Channel 5, and also provided a good introduction, and created hype for the local adaptation of the format, which launched on National Day this year.
Brand-name series like The Walking Dead (currently in Season four) also did well for Channel 5.
On okto, blue-chip wildlife documentaries like African Cats Adventure and Dangerous Encounter Backyard Monsters wowed viewers, while branded animation titles continued to be a key driver, especially branded titles like Pokemon and Sofia the First.
As for Asian content, The Voice of China series three, which Channel 8 aired on a simulcast basis with China, did exceptionally well in the ratings. It also generated a lot of buzz locally through the production of a local round of auditions.
On Channel U, Korean long-form drama Here Comes Mr Oh aired on a first-window basis and garnered a strong following from viewers, thanks to its family-comedy storyline.
When you buy a programme, do you acquire all rights – for example digital and SVOD as well as linear rights?
In tandem with MediaCorp’s multiple viewer-touchpoint strategy, rights should be platform-agnostic to include free-to-air linear, catch-up and simulstream.
Do you acquire local format rights?
The bulk of the acquisitions are finished product. However, we will always review successful formats that can be localised effectively.
What is the cycle when it comes to acquisitions?
We do not have a fixed buying cycle, but aim to be market-responsive by reviewing an engaging into content discussions all-year round, depending on content availability.
What are you looking for at the moment in terms of acquired programmes (is there a specific type of show you are looking for, for example)?
As we acquire a wide range of genres, any shortlisted content with day/date or short windows from original telecast will be prioritised over others that have long untenable holdbacks. Multiple-platform rights are also key.