Saturday 18 November 2017

StoryDrive Asia 2017

StoryDrive Asia is a conference dedicated to exploring new forms of collaboration, and developing new business models, across media and publishing boundaries in Asia. It is organised by the Frankfurt Book Fair, in collaboration with regional partners, and it is attended by professionals working in the print, audio, film, and TV sectors.

StoryDrive Asia 2017, organised in Singapore by the Frankfurt Book Fair in conjunction with the Singapore Book Publishing Association (SBPA), has just concluded two days of intensive exchanges and discussions among some 250 international and local participants. It brought together authors, editors, publishers, and media producers in activities ranging from training sessions, to new trend and market updates, to pitching sessions, to sessions aimed at setting the agenda for the publishing industry in the region.

SBPA’s President Peter Schoppert said: “StoryDrive Asia has the sort of format that surfaces issues and concerns for our industry, and also generates new energy and new connections”.

Hot topics included:

- Digital audiobooks and paid podcasts. These, on emerging Chinese models, are seen as a growth area, targeted both by regional start-ups like Malaysia’s Tlinge, and global giants like Overdrive, the world’s leading distributor of digital media to public libraries.

- Growth in ASEAN’s book publishing markets, and cooperation in the publishing and media industries. Regional markets are growing and developing quickly, and ASEAN publishers are increasingly finding ways to work together to strengthen sales between ASEAN countries, as well as to promote ASEAN content to overseas markets.

- Shifts in copyright law and policy in the region.

- Book-to-film adaptation. While for China, the Philippines, and many other territories in Asia, the trend of film and television producers systematically working with book and online media publishers to source film and television content is well established, it is a relatively new phenomenon elsewhere.

- Publishers’ use of new technologies. Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies are key in a region known for the use of smartphones.

StoryDrive Asia 2017 saw two agreements signed: a memorandum of understanding between Shake Book Projects of Malaysia and the Singapore Book Council; and an agreement between Pustaka Nasional, a Singapore-based Malay-language publisher, and Tlinge, a new Malaysian-based audiobook streaming service.

Frankfurt Book Fair’s Claudia Kaiser, reflecting on this year’s event, said: “It is fascinating how dynamically Asia is responding to the challenges in the media environment. Augmented reality and virtual reality are really taking off here. And with ASEAN turning 50, StoryDrive Asia 2017 ended with new ideas to promote content from this region. Exactly what is needed.”