The Asia TV Forum, the annual TV convention and market held in Singapore, will this year shift entirely online, as a response to the continuing effects of the coronavirus pandemic. It will retain the same Dec. 1-4, 2020 dates.

In place of the physical event, organizers will instead launch ATF Online Plus, a platform that combines rights market, conference, networking and business speed dating. Its functions will remain online, in on-demand format, until the end of February 2021.

“The ATF team has had many candid conversations with our partners over the past few months about proceeding with the market and conference in December 2020. To date, there is still much uncertainty on travel restrictions globally, thus impacting our partners who come from all over the world to attend ATF,” organizers said in a statement issued Monday. “After much consideration, and in the best interests of the industry, we have decided to take ATF online in order to facilitate business and networking for our industry.”

Singapore along with several other East Asian jurisdictions including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and mainland China have largely succeeded in controlling and suppressing the spread of COVID-19, and have scaled back or removed lockdown and stay-at-home measures. But even among these territories strict travel restrictions remain in place in order to prevent new cycles of import, infection and suppression. Some of the worst outbreaks have occurred in near neighbors, notably India and the Philippines, where the disease shows no signs of being under control.

Other festivals and markets in Asia in the coming months, including those in Busan and Tokyo, are attempting to host hybrid events that combine in-person meetings and virtual elements. But the regional travel difficulties, which include visa and border controls, and strict quarantine requirements, mean that non-resident foreigners are not expected to participate.

ATF Online Plus’ trade market will comprise: an attendee directory; a targeted recommendations feature; program and video listings; a personalized matchmaking service; and meeting tools that allow for video chats.

The virtual conferences and pitches sections will include additional segments: morning presentations by industry leaders; lunchtime sessions discussing buying strategies; and coffee hour presentations of scripted and unscripted formats. The so-called speed dating series allows potential partners, collaborators, co-producers and commissioners to meet and engage online.

https://variety.com/2020/biz/asia/singapore-atf-market-to-shift-entirely-online-1234777121/