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Bringing Entertainment to the World

Israeli media group Keshet International has recently founded its Asia headquarters in Hong Kong as the command centre for its regional expansion

You may be a fan of critically acclaimed TV drama Homeland, but you may or may not know that the American political thriller television series was developed based on an Israeli production called Prisoners of War (Hatufim). The company that created the original version, Keshet Media Group, was founded in Tel Aviv in 1993 and has become a global media conglomerate in less than two and a half decades. And the company’s footprints have reached Asia for several years with local adaptations of its productions, such as Master Class in China, Spy in Korea, Rising Star in Indonesia and Boom! in Thailand and Cambodia.

But it was not until 2014 that a decision was made to open an Asia headquarters, and Hong Kong was ultimately chosen as the location.

Bringing Entertainment to the World

“Geographically, if you look at the map, if you look at the business we are building, Hong Kong is right in the centre,” Gary Pudney, Head of Keshet International Asia, explained. Cities that he frequently travels to for business, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and Mumbai, are within three to five hours’ flight time.

“It’s a very efficient location, and it is very easy to set up a company. You have an accountant at every street corner, and the law is stable.”
Within months after the Hong Kong office opened in October 2015, the team has closed several major deals such as Prisoners of War with Star TV in India, Trade Up with Mainland China’s CCTV as well as Master Class in Vietnam and Rising Star in Cambodia.

“Our revenue in Asia is up 300 percent year on year,” Pudney said.

Other than the main distribution and production arm Keshet International in Tel Aviv and Keshet International Asia in Hong Kong, the group also has Keshet Productions UK in London, Keshet Mx production company in Mexico City, and Keshet Studios in Los Angeles. The group has a catalogue of more than 90 tried and tested properties that appeal to audiences worldwide, spanning all genres. Pudney pointed out that Asia is where the company sees the most growth potential.

“One-third of the world’s population is here; our goal from this office is to plant a flag in every country,” he said.

Keshet has been working with a number of partners in Mainland China. “There is an explosion of opportunities in the scripted space, and we have a number of dramas under development right now. They will start to break the surface from 2017 into 2018,” he said.

Keshet International Asia has a team of four at the moment. Pudney expects to eventually grow the headcount to 10. Many of the key members of the team have 15 to 20 years of experience in the industry.

Friday, March 17, 2017

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Fast Facts

  • Offers a catalogue of more than 90 tried and tested properties that appeal to audiences worldwide, spanning all genres
  • Opened the Asia headquarters in Hong Kong in October 2015
  • Saw a 300 percent year-on-year growth in business in Asia after the regional headquarters opened

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