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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 presentations, interviews, debates, a musical performance – and lots of jokes!

Hosted by “Godfather of Stand-up comedy in Malaysia,” Harith Iskander on 17-18 May, the live 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 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it featured speakers in Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Nepal, Turkey, Thailand, Myanmar, Mauritius, Australia, Fiji, the United States, Italy, Germany, Russia, and the Netherlands. 

A highlight on both days was a special exclusive interview with a Hollywood A-lister from Japan, Ken Watanabe by the ABU Programme Director, Yasu Nagahata. Ken talked about his career in Hollywood and looked back at his early years on TV and radio. He also shared his own opinions on diversity in the film industry, digital media including his way of interacting with social media posts, and his activity in the disaster-affected area in the northern part of Japan.

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.

All presentations were introduced by the genre, such as drama, kids, entertainment, and documentary. Including last year’s ABU Prizes winners, all speakers were highly experienced TV producers and had given amazing presentations on their productions using videos and many photos. The speakers and their topics are following. Drama: Larry Zheng (SMG-China), a substitute for the director, Shen Yen, on ABU Prize-winning “With You.” Yoichiro Takahashi (NHK-Japan) on ABU Children’s Drama Co-production and Jinsu Shin (EBS-Korea) on the 17th series Producers’ choice award of the 17th series, “MANGO IS A PENGUIN NOT AN OWL …” Kids: Markus Tomsche (WDR-Germany) on ABU Prize-winning “The Show with the Elephant: We are having a baby!” Hyunsook Chung (EBS-Korea) on international co-production, and “Beast of Asia.” Entertainment: Lu Xiao Bo (CCTV-China) on ABU Prize-winning “China in a Classics.” Kotaro Urakami (NEP-Japan) on 8K production. Documentary: Duilio Giammaria (RAI-Italy) on ABU Prize-winning “Breathless.”

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

On Day 1, 7 ABU members (Phoenix TV, Thai PBS, RAI, SMG, VGTRK, MRTV, and NHK) participated in a ground-breaking session called “60 Seconds Pitch,” and promoted their projects in one minute.

“Is TV a better media than other media?”  They were exciting, light-hearted, quick-fire debates on the merits of TV versus digital media production, and TV versus Radio. TV producers Shivanee Thapa Basnyat (NTV-Nepal) and Jan-Willem Bult (Netherland) stated “TV is better media!” to digital media producers Riyaad Minty (TRT-Tukey) and Soobass Latchman (MBC-Mauritius) on Day 1, and to radio producers, Kara Koroi (FBC-Fiji) and Russell Torrance (ABC-Australia) on Day 2.

Head of the TV, Hanizah Hamzah with the emcee, closed the event by announcing the upcoming activities of the Programme Department.

TV-CON is the first event aimed at strengthening the relationships among producers in our region and improving the knowledge and skills of program production in all TV genres, which is very different from past international conferences by the ABU Programme Department. It 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!