Virginia Lim


Lim backs "Asia's Got Talent" return in ballsy open to 2017

Sony Pictures Television (SPT) Networks Asia is returning high-octane talent format "Asia’s Got Talent" for a second season this year.

The new multi-year agreement with rights holder, FremantleMedia International, secures the format for AXN beyond season two.

The number of seasons being planned has not been disclosed. Neither has the production house for season two been announced.

No budget details either, but we're betting it goes nowhere near season one's record budget-buster north of US$10 million. Neither is it going to be cheap... maybe US$6 million or US$7 million? Which still puts it way above anything being spent anywhere else this year – so far, at least.  

"Asia’s Got Talent" 2 will involve 20 broadcast territories across the region, making it one of – if not the – world’s largest shows.

The premiere is scheduled for the second half of this year. 

The new rights deal is the first for the regional format under FremantleMedia’s six-month old Asia re-structure, announced in June last year.

The restructure dismantled the Singapore-based regional production unit and put all format licensing under FremantleMedia International’s Asia general manager/EVP, Ganesh Rajaram.

The bold bet on a show that broke ratings records in 2014/5 is being driven by Virginia Lim, SVP and head of content, production and marketing, Sony Pictures Television Networks, Asia.

Lim joined Sony Pictures Television Networks in 2010 as programming director for anime channel Animax Asia. She took over the regional network’s entire programming and production portfolio in April 2015.

The new "Asia’s Got Talent" tops a strong original production year in 2016, when Lim returned "The Amazing Race Asia" for a fifth season after a six-year break, and green-lit the network’s first Asian original, "We Are Asia – Dean Fujioka and Friends" as a co-production with Japan's Nippon TV for the joint-venture GEM channel. Lim also commissioned two seasons of all3media format, "Cash Cab Philippines", produced by Michael McKay’s activeTV.

Although season one of "Asia’s Got Talent" ended as a budget shocker, it also set ratings records for regional general entertainment network, AXN. 

In the Philippines, the grand final results episode was the highest rated pay-TV programme in the country since 2008.

The episode commanded a 96% share among 22 English-language general entertainment channels. (Kantar Media Philippines, all uran panel, 14 May 2015, pay TV 4+).

In Malaysia, "Asia’s Got Talent" was the highest rated entertainment series on English-language channels on pay-TV platform Astro in the past two years. (Source: Kantar Malaysia Astro DTAM, 2015-2016).

"Asia’s Got Talent" forms part of SPT Networks’ “long-term strategy to build further on its pipeline of successful original productions,” Sony Pictures Television Networks Asia's senior vice president and general manager, H.K. Ang, said today.