Mention 'film' and Hollywood comes to mind. But how is the Asian transmedia industry faring? This question came to mind as I was busy starting up a new Hollywood transmedia franchise. While still trailing North America and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region in box-office figures, the Asia-Pacific film market is the world's fastest growing. So what, you might ask? Plenty. The multiplying effect can be significant from an FDI viewpoint.

Film economics require that total cost of production must include not only tax credit incentives but also overall cost of living and procurement for entire crew and cast. Attractive tax credits can reduce a location’s attractiveness by the latter. This explains why much filming has been conducted beyond the traditional North American locations, resulting in jobs and FDI.


Major non-financial factors include quality of production crew and government regulatory requirements. Production deals that could have been easily agreed upon between film and executive producers are easily broken by excessive regulations which add to delays and costs. An intangible issue is the liveability of locations, which alone can deter A-list actors or even producers from making a deal.

These issues apply just to film, not other transmedia products such as books, gaming applications and digital content, or merchandise such as clothing and toy figurines, which have their own set of complications and opportunities.

Film spin-off products can generate huge multiplier and counter-cyclical effects: the potential for games and gaming application development is still huge.

The main issue for governments is to review and fine-tune their media policies to effectively capitalise on Asia’s rising demand for film (15% annually) and media products, helping producers to achieve their business model and key performance indicators. Asia’s supporting film industries can benefit if transmedia clusters or hubs can be enhanced, attracting world-class companies and increasing transmedia competencies, jobs and revenues.

Lights, camera, action!

Lawrence Yeo is CEO and principal consultant of AsiaBIZ Strategy, a Singapore-based management consulting firm providing Asia market research, market entry and expansion strategy and export/FDI promotion services.