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Content provided by: Hong Kong Trade Development Council
 
2 March 2011
An Entertaining Future

Robert Chua  

Hong Kong TV veteran Robert Chua says these are “exciting times” for the local industry 

 

With more than four decades in the television industry behind him, Robert Chua knows a thing or two about spotting trends and opportunities. From helping start local terrestrial station TVB in the 1970s, to the creation of the wildly successful variety show Enjoy Yourself Tonight, and the present-day growth of satellite and interactive broadcasting, Mr Chua has kept pace with industry developments locally and globally.

The good news, he says, is that there has never been a better time to be involved in television. The bad news is that the one thing lacking today is quality. But Mr Chua believes that this is where Hong Kong creativity can help.

“In recent years the whole industry has changed,” says Mr Chua. “And that’s from the content we provide to the actual way we do things. Interactive aspects of broadcasting are only just now being explored and it is an exciting time. I tell people that the possibilities now are endless.”

To prove his point, Mr Chua takes out his tablet computer and calls up the episode of a cooking show currently screening as part of his Health and Lifestyle channel on cable TV. He then turns to his mobile phone and sends a text message direct to the show, which appears moments later, scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

“Now, that’s an example of interactive,” Mr Chua says. “That’s all well and good, but we need content and we need to explore what content people want. And, specifically, everyone is looking for quality content. People are recognising just how much is needed.”

Wine vs Food

  Gregory Lok, (front right) with the judges, challengers and participants of the game show Wine vs Fo
 

Gregory Lok, (front
right) with the judges, challengers and participants of the game show Wine vs Food, which he created

The story of Gregory Lok is a case in point. As recently as five months ago, Mr Lok was working away in the corporate world when the idea occurred to him that he’d have more opportunities – and certainly more fun – doing something a little more creative.

Hence, Mr Lok helped devise the Wine vs Food online TV show, which challenges wine merchants to make unusual wine and food parings, with members of the general public serving as judges. The show has been warmly received, has its own Facebook page, and a growing number of fans in Hong Kong and beyond.

“There are tremendous opportunities in the video-content market in Asia,” says Mr Lok. “The traditional difficulty is ‘breaking into the industry.’ But what is cool about the advancement of online platforms such as YouTube is that they make things so much easier for people and shows like Wine vs Food to get seen.

“I also think that the growing prominence of China will spark greater interest in shows about this part of the world for everyday people around the world who want a sneak peek of Hong Kong and of China. We really try to tell the audience where in Hong Kong we are, how a local dish is cooked and to promote visiting this great destination city in Asia.”

For Mr Lok and his partners, the broadcasting possibilities are still being realised. “I think what excites me the most is partly not knowing where Wine vs Food will end up,” he says. “We're constantly refining video techniques, our storyboard and other aspects of the show to improve it, and it's the viewers and participants of the show smiling or laughing that really gets us going. The idea that X amount of people decided to press play on an eight-minute video and give us a chance to wow them is what's exciting.”

Mainland Collaboration 

A Chinese-language cooking show screening as part of Robert Chua’s Health and Lifestyle channel on c  

A Chinese-language cooking
show screening as part of Robert Chua’s Health and Lifestyle
channel on cable TV boasts an interactive component

 
Television will be part of the focus at Hong Kong’s annual International Film and Television Market (FILMART), 21-24 March, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

FILMART – a mainstay of the Entertainment Expo series of multimedia events – gives such companies as Hong Kong’s Salon Films the chance to promote its television production and to expand its sphere of influence and business. This year, for example, Salon is set to announce more deals reached to help service the rapidly expanding needs of CCTV, the mainland’s state television network. 

“Salon is setting up a strategic alliance with CITVC, the network's international representative, utilising and maximising the strengths of both companies, as well as the intimate and unique linkage between China and Hong Kong,” says entertainment industry veteran Fred Wang, Salon Film’s Chairman. “Together with CITVC, we are also seeking support from our close associates across Asia, for instance, members of the ACBS, to set up a Pan-Asian collaborative platform for content providing and distribution in the media creative industry.”

Asian Content

  Fred Wang
 

Fred Wang, Chairman
of Hong Kong-based Salon Films, is collaborating
with CITVC, the Chinese mainland state television CCTV's international representative, to provide television content in Asia

Salon is not just interested in producing content for Asia but about Asia, a major area of potential growth for broadcasting production companies, says Mr Wang. “We are trying to develop projects that look to not only entertain audiences, but also to promote both local and pan-Asian culture,” he says.

An increase in the number of options available for the audience throughout Asia has, he says, demanded that the various sectors of the regional industry look beyond their own shores, presenting challenges and opportunities. 

“The industry as a whole needs to evolve,” Mr Wang notes. “Given its long and glorious experience and strengths in TV and filmmaking, Hong Kong is in the perfect position to pave the way for such evolution. Hong Kong can no longer focus on trying to tap into the expansion of the Chinese market; it has to think further and wider. A pan-Asian collaborative environment is inevitable, a systemised industrial practice is inevitable; the question is whether Hong Kong can utilise its experience and qualities to take a pivotal role in such developments.” 

For Mr Wang – like TV industry veteran Mr Chua – it will all come down to the quality of product being produced.

“The prospect of a unified and efficient cross-platform content-providing system and a pan-Asian collaborative environment is exciting,” Mr Wang says. “And along with these, surely there will be more quality content being produced in the future, which is even more exciting.”

Related Links
HLC
RobertChua.com
 
Salon Films Group
WineHappy.com

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