Distinguished judges of the 17th Asian Television Awards,
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. Good evening. It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to the 17th edition of the Asian Television Awards, or ATA, as we gather to honour and celebrate the programming, production and performance achievements made by both local and regional talents in the Asian television industry.
Recognising excellence in Asian TV Industry
2. ATA has played a significant role in recognising excellence in the Asian TV industry since its launch sixteen years ago in 1996. This year is no exception. I understand that the quality and diversity of this year’s entries are as impressive, if not more, as previous years.
3. This year, ATA received more than 1,300 entries from 14 countries across Asia, an increase in 28 per cent compared to last year. There was also a notable increase in entries from countries such as China, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Singapore compared to previous years.
4. I understand that over the past few months, 48 specialist judges from 12 countries had viewed all the entries. 248 entries from 13 countries will vie for the 42 awards across various television genres, performance segments, as well as in categories such as the Terrestrial Broadcaster of the Year and the Cable &Satellite Network of the Year.
5. For this year, I am pleased to note that ATA has introduced three new award categories - namely, Best 2D Animated Programme, Best 3D Animated Programme and Best Sports Presenter or Commentator. The 2D and 3D animation categories were added to recognise the converging trend between animation and television content, as well as the power of animation to offer a distinct and unparalleled entertainment experience to viewers, whereas the new Best Sports Presenter or Commentator category acknowledges these TV professionals’ ability to enhance the viewing experiences of sports audiences. I understand that these new categories have received quite a number of entries, and I look forward to seeing who the winners are.
Rising demand for Asian Stories
6. The significant number of entries reflects the growth of the regional media industry and the increasing quality of productions. Over the years, Asian producers have proven that they are capable of producing compelling stories. This has in turn created a lot of interest in our stories and encouraged further content development within Asia. We should leverage on this and continue to market our programmes internationally.
7. Within Singapore, the development of local content is also gathering steam. In addition to the industry veterans, I was told that there are also several new entrants at this year’s awards. I am heartened that our telcos, such as SingTel and StarHub, have diversified into producing content as well. I believe that the industry will become even more vibrant with the competition from the entry of such new players.
Success through creating and adapting entertainment formats
8. The development of content extends beyond dramas. Many Asian producers are now looking at developing original entertainment formats, some of which have been picked up by international and regional producers. For example, The Kitchen Musical, a musical television drama series developed by Singapore’s The Group Entertainment, premiered slightly more than a year ago in 11 countries across Southeast Asia, and has since been picked up by countries such as Italy and India. This programme has proven to be a hit with audiences and others have also expressed interest in producing the format.
9. Apart from developing original content, Asian television has also been highly successful in adapting popular programmes with local flavor to reach out to the region’s diverse pool of audiences. Many of these successes are nominees in this year’s Awards. For example, Cash Cab Asia, which is nominated for Best Game or Quiz Programme, was adapted from Discovery Channel U.S. and ITV Channel UK’s successful Cash Cab format.
10. In conclusion, I would like to congratulate this year’s nominees on their achievements, and I wish them all the best in tonight’s competition. I would also like to thank the 48 judges for their time and effort in selecting this year’s winners. I know this was not easy given the high standards of this year’s nominations. To all, I hope you enjoy the evening ahead.
11. Thank you.