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ABU TV-CON a fast-moving mix of entertainment and humour

The ABU’s newest event, TV-CON, has ended after two days of interviews, presentations, debates, musical performances – and lots of jokes.

Hosted by Malaysian stand-up comedian Harith Iskander on 17-18 May, the hybrid event featured speakers from many countries and was billed as a convention of TV producers, by TV producers, for TV producers.

A fast-moving mix of interviews, presentations, debates and music, it followed a hybrid format. Hosted from a studio in Malaysia, it featured speakers in Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Nepal, Turkey, Thailand, Myanmar, Mauritius, the United States, Australia, Fiji, Italy, Germany, Russia, and the Netherlands.

A highlight on both days was an extended, exclusive interview with a Hollywood A-lister from Japan, Ken Watanabe. He talked about some of the top directors and actors he has worked with, looked back at his early years on TV and radio, and discussed the types of roles he enjoys taking on and how he prepares for them.

Keynote speakers were Vikram Channa, VP Content & Products Greater China & SEA, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, and Keiko Bang, CEO of Bang Singapore Pte Ltd, a pan-Asian entertainment company. Both spoke of the opportunities and rewards for TV programme makers in Asia.

A session on entertainment programmes on day two featured high-level speakers from CCTV-China and NHK Enterprises-Japan.

Lu Xiao Bo, the producer of last year’s ABU Prize winning programme “China in the Classics”, shared the story behind the scenes, and Kotaro Urakami introduced 8K production, showing several video clips including the ABU TV Song Festival 2018.

The session closed with a live performance by a Malaysian singer/songwriter, Oja.

The ABU Robocon Deputy Secretariat Chief, Tomohiro Arai of NHK Enterprises, introduced the event, an annual robot contest for students, and gave an update on this year’s tournament.

A highlight of both days were light-hearted, quick-fire debates on the merits of TV versus digital media production, and TV versus radio, with panellists from across the region and beyond mixing facts with humour.

TV-CON 2022 was supported by a grant from Japan’s Hoso Bunka Foundation, which promotes the cultural and technological development of broadcasting. The ABU plans to make it an annual event and is looking forward to having great support from members!