Proactive

activeTV maintains its core strength of producing for TV with new seasons and format adaptations as it makes its foray into creating content for the online space. Michael McKay, President of activeTV shares details of the production company’s upcoming projects with Melody Uy.

It's been almost two years since production company activeTV delivered “Ride of A Lifetime”, the tagline for Season 4 of The Amazing Race Asia, but Michael McKay, President of activeTV, assures us the race is still on. “The Amazing Race Asia is on hold for now, because the broadcaster (AXN Asia) has a full lineup, but we're working on The Amazing Race Philippines and The Amazing Race Australia Season 2,” McKay says.

Reception for the Asian adaptation of the CBS-owned franchise has been nothing short of amazing since it aired in 2006. Three seasons later, The Amazing Race Asia has attracted more than 34 million fans across Asia. It is also the highest rated programme of its timeslot among all international channels in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Hong Kong. (Sources: AGB NMR Malaysia, Philippines, TNS Singapore, CSM Hong Kong.) The Amazing Race Australia has done very well under Australian's Seven Network, with its premiere episode ranking in the top 5. The Australian adaptation has also won the Asian Television Awards for “Best Adaptation of an Existing Format” and “Best Direction” for McKay in 2011.

While audiences across Asia wait for their fi x, activeTV promises to over-deliver in their latest single-territory adaptation of the Amazing Race format. “The Amazing Race Philippines is going to be the fi rst time the Amazing Race format has gone daily,” McKay shares. “We're producing 45 episodes for the daily broadcast,” he adds, which will air weeknights over nine weeks on TV5 starting October.

Cashing in on audiences' appetite for reality shows, activeTV, which has offi ces in Singapore and Australia, is also developing a new series called Food That Rocks, a travelogue-style reality series anchored on well-known rock musicians. “It's a food show with a rock-and-roll twist. We're going to focus on famous rock musicians – where they dine in their hometown,” says McKay.

The reality series, conceived by activeTV Creative Director Brad Cox and Masterchef Australia contestant Aaron Harvie, who was recently brought back for the celebrity reunion show, is expected to commence production later this year, McKay shares. “Season one will be shot in the U.S., and we're talking to a network in Australia to air the series.” The show, he says, is aimed at “the MTV audience and people who watch food shows such as fans of Jamie Oliver and Masterchef Australia.”

Platform jump
activeTV is no stranger to the awards scene. Michael McKay, President of activeTV is a member of the The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and was recently asked to host the semi-fi nal judging for one of the International Emmy Awards categories. “We had about ten senior management people from networks such as Astro, Media Prima (Malaysia), NBCUniversal and Disney, and they screened nine fi lms (non-factual) from South America,” McKay says, adding that they will be producing the awards as well, and expectations are high after its successful collaboration with Sundance Channel and Yahoo! for coverage of the Asian Film Awards. “Next up is Busan Film Festival, which is going to be a challenge. It's a 10-day event, so production is longer [than the Sundance collaboration], cost is higher. With a limited budget, how do we achieve that?”

While TV production remains activeTV's core business, the company has been trying its hand at producing online content, which Rob Khoo, General Manager/ Vice-President Development Asia for activeTV, says is a natural transition. “As social media and apps continue to invade our lives, we are also investing in online and social media productions,” says Khoo. “The process is the same, just with a smaller budget – it's all about the creative idea behind it. An idea is still an idea, no matter which platform it sits on,” he explains. “Online, the gestation period is shorter, and you get almost instantaneous results.”

activeTV was recently commissioned by Yahoo! to shoot Makeup Tips at Singapore's Audi Fashion Festival, and the two parties are currently in discussion for a web series called Taxi Chronicles, which Khoo shares will be “a view on society through the eyes of taxi uncles”. Due to the recent spate of viral videos involving driving incidents and the fl ood of comments from netizens, it's an idea that Yahoo! says has traction, he adds.

In the meantime, Khoo says “activeTV is also working on a very exciting social media project with three very different parties. This will be a fi rst on many different levels in terms of engaging audiences on both traditional and social media platforms. With our experience in producing entertaining reality TV and the support of our partners in pushing the message, this will be something you'll defi nitely hear about.”

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