SINGAPORE – The Asia TV Forum & Market’s third annual ATF Formats Pitch competition has awarded a S$5,000 (US$3,600) cash prize and valuable follow-up consultancy to a studio-based, variety-style entertainment competition.
The pitching event, which took place on Thursday (Dec. 6) at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, showcased ideas for Asian formats ready for export and development.
Hosted by Rachel Glaister, All3Media International’s EVP for press & marketing, five finalists were given five minutes to pitch their non-fiction or unscripted program or series to a panel of leading network executives representing the Asia-Pacific region.
The Grand Prize winner of the ATF Formats Pitch was Serenade from boutique Malaysian production house phoSumpro!, who, in addition to the cash prize, will receive a post report that will be tailor-made to help develop their format, making it ready to be pitched to broadcasters.
Pitched by phoSumpro! director Mai Fernandez and producer Yin Tan, the 30-minute variety competition features six dedicated “serenaders” per episode performing from beneath a balcony, to win the hearts of their celebrity crush, or at least some quality time over dinner.
Episodes will consist of two performance rounds, with the first seeing six participants conducting a solo performance consisting of singing, dancing, poetry recitals or any variant of art forms to impress their crush. That week’s star will then whittle the six contestants down to three. Finalists will then move on to round two where they will perform on a larger scale with backup dancers, props and costumes to further impress their idol.
Successful serenaders will have flower petals rain down upon them, while those who fail will be bathed with an ice-cold bucket of water.
Fernandez and Tan believe episodes for the scalable format will range between $10-$15,000 to make, not including clearance for song rights or cost of the talent.
“We don’t have a lot of talk shows this side of the world,” Fernandez reasoned when concerns were raised over potentially sky-high celebrity costs. “We see [this format] as an opportunity for celebrities to come in and promote their projects and to connect with their fans.”
In the end, the panel of judges thought Serenade was a charming format that took advantage of the popularity of talent shows and singing competitions, and “loved” that there was “the possibility to have a variety of talent on the series”. The format was not without concerns, however. Because the series relies so heavily on famous faces, the judges wondered how many episodes could actually be made with their participation, and whether a celebrity’s name recognition or brand would negatively affect the show.
“If one celebrity is very well known in one episode and less known in another episode, would that affect viewership?” asked judge Sabrina Duguet, EVP of Asia Pacific and head of All3Media International’s Singapore office.
Competing original non-scripted format pitches came from China’s Hunan TV for intergenerational observational docuseries Post Box of Miracles, which received honorable mention; Malaysia’s Wildsnapper TV for mobile entertainment game show Dare; Republic of Korea’s Cenmedia for culinary challenge format $10 to Chef; and Malaysia’s Doghouse 73 Pictures, who pitched a zombie-themed survival competition series, Battle of the Dead.
This year’s panel of judges included All3Media’s Duguet; Jennifer Batty, chief content officer at VOD service HOOQ; Jocelyn Little, MD and founding partner of Beach House Pictures; Lynn Ng, director of content strategy and acquisitions at Discovery Networks Asia Pacific; and Varavuth Jentanakul, CEO and chair of Zense Entertainment.