Pinoy teleseryes are gaining traction around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic

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ABS-CBN Corp. such as New Beginnings and Asintado are broadcast in 41 African countries, while La Vida Lena and Mirabilia are broadcast in Myanmar. — COMPANY DOCUMENT

By Michelle Anne P. Soliman, Journalist

MARIE GRACE BALDERAMA, 28, watched The broken wedding vowABS-CBN Entertainment’s adaptation of the BBC original series Doctor Fosteron YouTube from his home in Canada.

“I was curious,” the Filipino interior design technician said in a Facebook Messenger chat. “I watched the Korean version and wanted to compare the plots.”

Ms Balderama also watches Filipino talent shows with her parents The Philippine Voice and Tawag ng Tanghalan on iWantTFC and YouTube.

The rise of streaming platforms amid a coronavirus pandemic has given Filipino TV shows a chance to be seen by global audiences.

Online market research firm Statista reports that 77% of Filipino internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 used a video streaming subscription service in 2020. Netflix was the leading platform in the Philippines with a market share of 35 %.

Major entertainment companies in the Philippines were exporting TV shows even before the pandemic.

ABS-CBN’s Romantic Drama Bagong Umagaknown worldwide as new beginnings, is broadcast in more than 41 African countries including Kenya, Ghana and Madagascar. His action drama series Asintado is broadcast with a French dub in the French-speaking region of Africa, including the Ivory Coast, while La Vida Lena airs in Myanmar under the Burmese title Maya Galeisar.

Four GMA Network Dramas – madrasah, Kambal, Karibal, legally blind and Onanay – were to premiere in Africa and a deal with SynProNize, a Dubai-based content distribution and production company, the listed company announced in September.

Last year, the Spanish dubbed versions of GMA Little mom (La Inocencia De Tania), For love or money (For love or for dinner) and A place in your heart (The Madrasta) also debuted in Ecuador.

ABS-CBN, which imported the hit Mexican drama series Rosalinda in the Philippines in the 1990s, later formed its international sales team, bringing Mula to Puso in Malaysia in 2002 and Pangako Sa’Yo in Kenya in 2003.

“For the first five years, we focused on selling six of our highest-rated titles,” Laarni Yu, head of sales at ABS-CBN, said in an email. Rival GMA Network started its syndication business in 2007 through its global division.

“We started by exporting some of GMA’s best drama series to an Indonesian broadcaster,” Roxanne J. Barcelona, ​​vice president and global division consultant for GMA Network, said in an e-mail. mail. The dramas were dubbed into Bahasa. After Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore followed suit.

Acquiring foreign content for GMA allowed them to build a network of international clients and helped the company grow its syndication business, she said.

The first syndicated GMA dramas in Southeast Asia in the past 15 years included Marimar, Dyesebel, Encantadia and mulawin.

“When we started with Cignal Entertainment, international distribution was always on the radar,” Cignal Entertainment Vice President Isabel Aranez-Santillan said in a Zoom interview. “We knew that anything we would produce for television or theaters had to travel outside of the Philippines.”

Anyone buying Filipino content always considers the story and the quality of the production, Ms. Barcelona said. “Buyers also consider a program’s target audience and past ratings. These are indicators of a program’s potential to also rank well with a similar audience segment.

Similarities in culture and experiences are also important factors influencing the marketability of television programs, she added.

“We consider several cultural factors when choosing the titles we sell to each territory,” Ms. Yu said. universal theme of family love are some of the bases of our decisions.”

ABS-CBN has sold over 50,000 hours of television content in over 50 countries.

The network’s shutdown after Congress rejected its 2020 franchise expansion accelerated its digital transformation, forcing the company to migrate to the online world, where it became the nation’s leading local content producer for news and entertainment.

The company posted a net loss of 3.8 billion pesos in the nine months to September 2021, lower than the net loss of 7.3 billion pesos a year earlier, according to a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

“ABS-CBN has strengthened its international reach by merging its proprietary digital app with iWantTFC and unlocking entertainment and news content in various regions around the world,” he said. It has distributed over 180 titles to various territories in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe as well as various over-the-top platforms, generating over 292 million pesos.

In contrast, GMA Network’s attributable net income over the same period increased 53% to 5.98 billion pesos from a year earlier, boosted by advertising revenue which increased 35% to 15.5 billion pesos, according to a stock market filing. Net income from international operations fell to P506.6 million from P649.1 million a year earlier.

“As long as the theme is universal, like love and family values, and even the other networks are producing content that’s really marketable outside of the country,” Cignal TV vice president Jeffrey Remigio said. through Zoom.

For filmmaker, television and music producer and writer Christopher Cahilig, a project must above all be commercially viable.

“I know it’s not the most ideal for other people because they’ll always be like, ‘I want an art story,'” he said. “If you come in with a big premise that the hardware is commercially viable, that will make for sound business.”

“We are starting to introduce the concept of the story to the streaming platform,” Cahilig said in Filipino. “If they don’t like the material, we don’t produce it. We’re not betting on something that won’t be successful.

MEASURING SUCCESS
The production of a television series costs between 15 and 25 million pesos, which includes the cost of filming and hiring famous actors. A 30-50% markup is the usual expectation, he added.

A TV series is considered successful if it has a large audience and good feedback and engagement on social media.

“Grades are always the main factor in determining the success of a program,” Ms. Barcelona said. “Unfortunately, not all customers subscribe to ratings providers, and not all territories have easy access to TV ratings. That’s why we communicate regularly and receive feedback from our customers.

Social media comments on GMA and its customer social media pages are also a good indicator of a show being considered a success, she said. “The success of a drama also translates into an increase in foreign social media followers for our performers.”

“The best indicator is a customer’s decision to buy more dramas from GMA,” Ms. Barcelona said. “A program can be so successful that a client decides to also acquire its format rights to do a remake in their country,” she added, noting that they have sold out a number of their drama formats. in Vietnam, Cambodia and Latin America.

Another measure of success is ad revenue if the TV series is offered on an ad-based video-on-demand service, which is free to consumers, said Pia Laurel, head of international distribution at ABS-CBN. “If the platform is subscription video on demand, its benchmark is whether the title could drive new subscriptions or renewals.”

For “over-the-top” — where material is delivered directly to viewers over the Internet — and other streaming platforms, the number of views and minutes a show has been a good measure of success, Mr. Remigio.

“GMA has taken a ‘glocal’ perspective in producing content, or content for both local and global markets,” Ms. Barcelona said. This in addition to trying to keep up with the technical aspects of TV production and being on par with international standards, she added.

The network’s syndication activity has also paved the way for co-productions and partnerships with major international players.

“As a content company, our dream and our main goal is to create and produce more original stories that will resonate and reach all audiences around the world,” Ms. Laurel said.

Cignal’s plan has always been to create a library of content not just for television, but also for theatrical and theatrical release, Ms. Santillan said. “When we do that, we know the other platforms we can distribute them on.”

Whatever the narrative, the human experience should bridge cultural differences.

“We think about the human experience and how it is told.” said Mr. Cahilig. “Because people have access to so much content now, I think being distinctly Filipino will really help you stand out.”

Ms. Balderama, the Filipina-Canadian, wants to see more morena actors, queer topics and stories of people like her who have made it elsewhere.

“I see stories of Filipino migrants facing many realistic issues, but I would also like to see more stories of them thriving in their new chosen lands.”

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