Friday, 22 Nov
ABU General Assembly ends on high note
The 56th ABU General Assembly has ended in Tokyo, after two days of discussions on the challenges facing broadcasters in an era of rapid technological change.
With the theme “Building Trust: Enriching Audience Experience”, the assembly looked at how traditional broadcasters can adapt to the digital era and hold on to their audiences in the face of fierce competition from the Internet and social media.
The General Assembly was the high point of seven days of ABU meetings hosted by Japan's public broadcaster, NHK.
The meetings covered a wide range of programme, technical, sports, news and copyright issues. More than 600 delegates from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond took part.
New ABU initiatives discussed included an Asia-Pacific Song Contest, to be held for the first time in China in 2020, and the Asia-Pacific View, an online content sharing platform.
On the final day, the President and CEO of KBS-Korea, Mr Yang Sung-dong, was unanimously elected a Vice-President of the ABU for a three-year term. He succeeds Ms Supriya Sahu of Doordarshan-India.
Mr Yang said he was honoured by his election and would be happy to share KBS's experience in digital broadcasters will fellow ABU members.
“Please share your creative ideas and suggestions with me,” he said.
He joins the President, Mr Ryoichi Ueda of NHK, and Vice-Presidents, Mr Sun Yusheng of CCTV-China and Mr Ibrahim Eren of TRT-Turkey, on the leadership team.
MTRK-Uzbekistan and RNE-Nepal were elected to the Administrative Council and RRI-Indonesia and KBS-Korea were re-elected.
The ABU Secretary-General, Dr Javad Mottaghi, paid tribute to NHK for hosting what he described as “the best General Assembly we have ever had”.
The Voice of Vietnam (VOV) will host the 2020 ABU General Assembly in Hanoi on 22-27 October.
Top broadcasters look to the future
A panel of top leaders shared their experience and insight in the second part of Super Panel Forum which was titled “Beyond Broadcasting: New Era of Unlimited Possibilities”, moderated by the Director General of TRT-Turkey, Mr Ibrahim Eren.
The President of NHK, Mr Ryoichi Ueda, has described how Japan's public broadcaster has embarked on its journey to transform into public service media by ensuring full delivery of crucial information to those who need it by using every device available.
Mr Ueda added that it also meant appreciating viewers' needs, and building a close relationship and deep trust through interactive connections via social media.
“NHK's evolution into public service media has only just begun,” he said, adding that this was the way for broadcasters to survive in the new media environment.
As a key part of this, he described how NHK's disaster coverage was making full use of the internet and mobile devices to reach as many people as possible.
The President and CEO of KBS-Korea, Mr Yang Sung-dong, followed up by describing how the broadcaster uses videos of disasters contributed by viewers to supplement its coverage.
This not only kept costs down and enabled KBS to use material it could not otherwise have obtained, but helped it build trust with viewers.
“The media environment is constantly changing yet our public service value remains the same,” he said.
There was also exchanges on how digital technologies enable broadcasters to widen their service.
Mr Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO of India's public broadcasting authority, Prasar Bharati, said making most of social media and internet help them preserve culture and diversity, digitise their archives and transcend borders.
He said these technologies were also giving radio a new lease of life. Prasar Bharati now had an app that enabled listeners to download programmes of their choice from All India Radio.
Noting that fake news was a downside of the growth in social media, Mr Vempati said his organisation had just set up an online operation, Prasar Bharati News Service, to counter this.
Mr Ueda and Mr Yang both spoke of the role the ABU could play in helping members meet the demands of the digital era.
“Now is the time to mobilise the power of the ABU to face challenges together and pave the way for the better future of broadcasting,” Mr Ueda said.
Mr Yang suggested broadcasters could work through the ABU to produce and share programmes on global environmental issues such as plastic waste.
Closing the forum, Mr Eren said that unlike commercial stations, public broadcasters saw their audiences “not as customers but as citizens”.
Broadcasters look at future of mass media
An intensive debate “Super Panel Forum” looked into the future role of broadcasters on the second day of the ABU General Assembly in Tokyo.
The session opened with a panel titled “Mass Media: Does it still Matter?” moderated by Ms Miki Ebara, Chief International Correspondent, NHK WORLD-JAPAN.
Four panellists looked at how broadcasters can connect better with their audiences in the face of declining television viewership, especially among young people.
Senior broadcaster Mr Kabul Budiono of TVRI-Indonesia said times were changing, and broadcasters needed to use social media to promote their programmes and better serve people.
“We have to grab the young audience because they are the future of TV.”
Mr David Thanh, Head of International Strategy, ABC-Australia, shared an example of an investigative report that revealed abuse of elderly in Australian health care homes using video material provided by the audiences, which led to Royal Commission to step in.
He said that working closely with audiences enabled the broadcaster to address issues that really matter to them.
Mr Al Simpkins of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a US-based non-profit journalism school and research organisation, said broadcasters had to reflect back to their audiences that they understood them and were there to help them.
“We must give audiences the information to make their own decisions but without losing our quality.”
The sole representative of the new media on the panel was Mr Michael Slonim, President of VICE Digital APAC, a media company aimed at young adults.
He said new media could learn from traditional media but had a different way of covering news. “The more you polish something, the more you water it down and lose the edge.”
Panellists representing both traditional and new media agreed on one thing – that success was based on having a strong brand that people trusted.
Thursday, 21 Nov
Share your insights, ABU President urges
The ABU President, Mr Ryoichi Ueda, has encouraged ABU members to meet the demands of the digital era by sharing their experiences and insights.
Speaking at the opening of the ABU General Assembly, Mr Ueda, who is also NHK President, urged members to carve out new opportunities to enhance cooperation through active participation and lively discussions.
“The ABU is characterized by the term 'Diversity in Unity'. The Asia-Pacific region is characterized by uniquely different regional cultures, languages, and economies, yet we share many common challenges as broadcasters.”
“I believe the ABU General Assembly serves as an important forum for the members to gather together and explore ways to respond to the ever-changing demands of our viewers and to combat newly surfaced challenges in the era of new media.”
“Now, my dear fellow members of the ABU, let us spend today and tomorrow exchanging our wisdom through active participation and lively discussions, and together let us carve out new opportunities to enhance cooperation and alliance for our bright future.”
Mr Ueda said the environment of the broadcasting industry had changed dramatically due to the digitalisation of broadcasting and the growth of the internet.
Viewers today opt for a more diverse, high-quality and holistic viewing experience.
“To earn our viewers' firm trust, we the broadcasters must now offer the best audience experience by incorporating the latest technologies and multiple platforms such as social media while maintaining traditional values, such as delivering fair and accurate information.”
ABU members must be 'bold, creative', says SG
New technology has changed the broadcast industry beyond recognition, the ABU Secretary-General, Dr Javad Mottaghi, told the General Assembly on 21 November.
“The technology has changed the way we live, work and interact,” he said.
“Social media has turned the tables and changed the balance of power. It has changed the very definition and nature of broadcasting as we knew it.”
Dr Mottaghi said constant change seemed to be the new normal. ABU members across the globe had to keep adapting to changes driving the broadcast industry.
“It is not enough anymore to send programmes in a one-to-many approach. The successful broadcasters now make every effort to know their listeners and viewers well, interact and engage with their audiences and serve them meaningfully.
“This brave new world requires us to be bold, to be creative, to take risks and walk unknown paths and to be constantly on the move. But we have one big winning card to play and that is the ABU family.
“No one in our Union is alone in this new brave world and should not feel alone. There is the safety net of our solidarity, partnership and collective wisdom.”
Minister's praises broadcasters' role in emergencies
Japan's Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications, Ms Takaichi Sanae, paid tribute to broadcasters for the role they play in times of emergency.
Speaking at ABU General Assembly on 21 November, Ms Takaichi said that by sharing emergency news and information fast, broadcasters can provide viewers and listeners with a huge sense of security.
She referred to the typhoon that struck the country this year, saying people relied on the radio when they could not recharge their mobile batteries.
Ms Takaichi also acknowledged that the ABU had been making a number of contributions to the development of broadcasting in the Asia-Pacific region.
Amid the dramatic changes brought by digitalisation and the growth of the Internet, the minister said the role broadcasters played remained very important.
She concluded by encouraging broadcasters to continue connecting large numbers of people with each other, as seen during the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
2019 ABU Prize winners announced
ABU members from 13 countries are winners of the 2019 ABU Prizes.
ABU Prizes are awarded to excellent broadcast programmes produced by ABU members. The prizes are given during the annual General Assembly period.
This year's winners were announced at a colourful show in Tokyo on 21 November. In all, 27 prizes were presented.
|Drama||Gray Canvas||Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK)-Japan|
|Docudrama||The darkness is only in my eyes but it is not in my future||Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI)-Indonesia|
|Documentary||Slow Train in Cold Pole Only Stops for You||China National Radio (CNR)-China|
|News Reporting||Medical Waste||Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI)-Indonesia|
|Raise our Voice||Bangladesh Betar (BB)-Bangladesh|
|On-Air Personality||FIJI HINDI||Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC)-Fiji|
|ABU Perspective Award||Song from the Wordless Tongue - Story of the Silence Choir||China National Radio (CNR)-China|
|Drama||FREEDOM'S CALLING||ZDF German Television (ZDF)-Germany|
|Documentary||A Doctor Beside the Deathbed||Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK)-Japan|
|News Reporting||SBS 8 News - Terminator Panda: Collusion between celebrities and law enforcement authorities uncovered through Jung Joon-young's phone - The Ugly Side of K-pop Stars||Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)-Republic of Korea|
|Children||BROTHERS||Vietnam Television (VTV)-Vietnam|
|Entertainment||Everlasting Classics (Season II)||China Central Television (CMG/CCTV)-China|
|Sports||14 Seconds at Rostov Japan vs. Belgium: The Real Story||Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK)-Japan|
|Dearest Megumi - Last Battle against the Abductions to North Korea||The Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association (JBA - Fuji Television Network, Inc.)-Japan|
|Goodbye Father||British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Hindi)-India|
|Special Jury Prize|
|Radio||The House||Bangladesh Betar (BB)-Bangladesh|
|TV||Survive 4th episode of the documentary series 'Lost: Find: Found: Survive: Restore'||Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)-Thailand|
|COMMENDED PROGRAMME (Radio)|
|DRAMA||The Elevator||Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)-Iran|
|DOCUMENTARY||A Documentary on the fifth anniversary of the Sewol Ferry Sinking||Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)-Republic of Korea|
|NEWS REPORTING||Is this the face of Fake News in India?||British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Hindi)-India|
|ON-AIR PERSONALITY||Attorney of Fifty Million with Baek Seong-moon||Korea Educational Broadcasting System (EBS)-Republic of Korea|
|SPECIAL JURY PRIZES||A Job Seeker's Plight||Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS)- Bhutan|
|COMMENDED PROGRAMME (TV)|
|Documentary||Whole Again||The Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association (JBA - Nagoya Broadcasting Network)-Japan|
|News Reporting||Forty years in the eyes of a photographer Xiao Quan||Sichuan Radio and TV (SRT)-China|
|ABU Perspective Award||Hell and Hope||Voice of America (VOA)-United States|
|Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting(IRIB)-Iran|
|Mr.Lee Chang Hyung
Executive Managing Director
|Korean Broadcasting System(KBS)-Republic of Korea|
Wednesday, 20 Nov
ABU General Assembly set to open
The 56th ABU General Assembly begins its two-day meeting on 21 November, with a focus on how members can build trust in broadcasting and enrich the experience of their audiences.
The agenda for the first day will include a report by the ABU Secretary-General, Dr Javad Mottaghi, a report by the Chairperson of the Planning and Strategy Group, and a session on Moving Forward: Successful Digital Strategies to Engage Audiences.
In both the morning and afternoon, members will share their stories on Building Trust: Enriching Audience Experience.
Another highlight will be the Members' Forum, in which the chairpersons of the bodies overseeing ABU Programming, ABU Technology and Innovation, the ABU Sports Group Conference, the ABU News Group and the ABU Intellectual Property and Legal Committee will report on their activities.
Mr Manuel Pires, Chairman of the Executive Committee, TDM-Macau, will moderate the forum.
Day 2 will see a Super Panel with two forums: 'Mass Media - Does it Still Matter?' and 'Beyond Broadcasting: New Era of Unlimited Possibilities'.
The day's agenda also includes elections to the Administrative Council and the election of an ABU Vice President.
Exploring the sights of Tokyo
Excursion day on 20 November gave participants an opportunity to unwind. Blessed with sunny autumn weather, they were able to soak up something of Tokyo's past, present and future.
The excursion began with a visit to the Edo-Tokyo Museum. Established in 1993, the museum is dedicated to the 400-year history of Tokyo, including during the Edo period which lasted about 260 years from the early 1600's.
Next came a tour in the Tokyo Bay area that included a peek at some of the facilities being prepared for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The excursion ended with a visit to Meiji Jingu, a shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his consort, Empress Shoken. Established in 1920, it's located in a large forest consisting of species of trees donated from all over Japan - a green oasis in the heart of Tokyo.
Key broadcasting activities come under the spotlight
The NHK Showcase running alongside the ABU meetings is continuing to draw strong interest from delegates.
As part of the showcase, presentations on 19 November highlighted three aspects of NHK's work: archiving, news in the digital era, and programmes reaching out to Millennials.
The archiving presentation focused on the vital importance of preserving old material and looked at some of the work NHK does with other organisations in Asia.
The evolution and future use of social media formed a key part of the presentation on news in the digital era. One of the issues addressed was how to maintain accountability amid rapid change.
The segment on reaching out to Millennials recognised that young people are watching less TV, and focused on ways of engaging them.
Indonesia's TVRI prepares for big media event
Among the delegates at the ABU General Assembly are a team from Indonesia's public broadcaster TVRI, who say they will be able to draw on the valuable experience of seeing how NHK is hosting this meeting.
TVRI is among the organisers of the 2020 World Summit on Media for Children in Jakarta on 6-8 July. The event is held in a different country every three years with an aim to develop and improve quality media for children around the world.
Ms Tuty Purwaningsih, TVRI's Head of Supporting Division for Programme and News said: "NHK are very professional hosts."
She and her colleagues described the meetings as excellent, with good speakers and interesting content. They praised NHK's hospitality, and said the large turnout of delegates added to the value of the meetings.
Indonesia is no stranger to hosting ABU General Assemblies. The 2016 GA took place on the island of Bali, hosted by Radio Republik Indonesia. TVRI hosted the ABU TV Song Festival at the event.
Tuesday, 19 Nov
ABU TV Song Festival draws big crowd
An enthusiastic crowd was on hand for the 2019 ABU TV Song Festival at NHK Hall in Tokyo on 19 November.
The song festival is a highlight of every ABU General Assembly and this year was no exception, with artists representing the countries and territories of 11 ABU members.
The lineup featured:
Adelino Da Silva, Macau/TDM
A.R. Rahman, India/DDI
Dan Sultan, Australia/ABC
Dimash Kudaibergen, Kazakhstan/JSC
Hanin Dhiya, Indonesia/TVRI
Hey! Say! JUMP, Japan/NHK
Hoang Thuy Linh, Vietnam/VTV
Kay Tse, Hong Kong/TVB
Na Ying, China/SMG
Mustafa Sandal, Turkey/TRT
TWICE, Republic of Korea/KBS
In addition, the special guests were Joe Hisaishi, Foorin and Foorin team E, all from Japan. Shingo Murakami and Yuki Sugiura hosted the show.
Women with the Wave forum looks at diversity and inclusion
The annual Women with the Wave forum took place on 19 November. Its theme was ABU Broadcasting for All: Diversity and Inclusion in the Media.
The aim of the day-long forum was to showcase content and services that reflect all groups of society, and to promote gender and diversity.
The keynote speaker was Ms Kathy Matsui, Vice-Chair of Goldman Sachs Japan. She discussed the progress being made in Japan in promoting the role of women in the workplace, and what still needed to be done.
Her message was that people should not leave it to others to take the lead on this. “We've got to stop pointing fingers,” she said. “Everyone must work together”
Other speakers focused on similar issues elsewhere in the world, and the role of the media.
“As the national broadcaster, we have to set the trend for diversity and inclusion,” the CEO of Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Riyaz Sayed Khaiyum, said.
The forum's title refers to the digital wave that is sweeping the globe and how women can catch and surf this wave.
Building Trust in the Media
A two-hour Quality Management Workshop took place on 19 November as part of the ABU's annual meetings.
The workshop was designed to provide media managers with new tools to develop the quality, credibility and efficiency of their newsrooms and other content production units.
This is aimed at strengthening the trust in their media and enriching audience experiences.
The speakers were David Balme of Challenge Optimum SA and Professor Emeritus Shoji Shiba of Tsukuba University.
Technical Committee looks at future strategies
An in-depth look at the future of linear broadcasting by a panel of specialists was a highlight of the second day of the ABU Technical Committee.
Moderated by Mr Masakazu Iwaki of NHK, the panel featured high-level speakers from Asia, Europe and Middle East.
They shared their vision on the future of broadcasting and discussed how some broadcasters are facing the challenges.
The panel echoed a common theme that broadcasters need to collaborate and innovate, and to be more agile in adapting to the changes in the market.
The panel was followed by a session called “The Host Presents”, in which four senior NHK engineers looked at a range of advanced technologies.
These included IP live production, ISDB-T, augmented reality and 3D video technology.
The two-day Technical Committee meeting, chaired by Mr Hamid D Nayeri of IRIB-Iran, drew more than 100 broadcast engineers from the region and beyond.
Administrative Council meets
The ABU Administrative Council met on 19 November to discuss policy matters and current issues facing the union.
The council consists of 17 Full and Additional Full members and serves as a “board of directors” for the union. It meets twice a year.
Its members are elected by ABU members at the annual General Assembly and serve a three-year term.
Monday, 18 Nov
Work together, ABU President stresses at press conference
ABU President Ryoichi Ueda has expressed the significance for broadcasters in the region of working together to overcome the challenges posed by significant changes in the broadcasting industry.
Mr. Ueda, who is also the President of NHK, told a news conference that the broadcasting industry continues to adjust itself to a changing landscape in the era of digitalisation and the growth of the internet.
“New platforms utilising the internet are emerging one after another, and social media has become a significant means of communication,” he said.
“Now, people enjoy the freedom to choose from a vast amount of information and images, prompting the younger generation to watch less television.”
Viewers not only watched broadcasted programs as in the past, but were also seeking diverse and high-quality 'audience experience' through various platforms, Mr. Ueda said.
“To win their firm trust, we broadcasters must offer the best audience experience anytime and anywhere. We also need to adhere to the traditional values such as 'delivering fair and accurate information' as well as having full command of the latest technologies and various platforms.”
Despite varied culture, religion and economy, he said the ABU was characterised by the expression “Diversity in Unity” and that the members faced common challenges as broadcasters on how to use new platforms and technologies, and to effectively deliver content.
“I believe an important role of the ABU General Assembly is to inspire each other, learn from each other, and work together to overcome these challenges by sharing our diverse experiences and insights.”
The ABU Secretary-General, Dr Javad Mottaghi, said the mandate of the ABU was to link broadcasters together to work for media development.
The General Assembly was an opportunity to learn from one another how to convert challenges into opportunities, he said.
On a lighter note, some of the artists who will be performing at the ABU TV Song Festival on 19 November were introduced to the media.
On hand were the Japanese group Hey! Say! JUMP!, the singer Dimash Kudaibergen from Kazakhstan and the Japanese children's pop group Foorin and Foorin team E, as well as presenters Shingo Murakami and Yuki Sugiura.
NHK will screen the festival on its domestic TV on 28 December, and its international television channel, NHK WORLD-JAPAN, will show the festival in two parts on 30 and 31 December.
Sports and Programme meetings continue
The Programme Committee Meeting and the Sports Group Conference continued on 18 November as the ABU's annual meetings gathered pace.
A highlight of the Programme Committee Meeting was a special session titled “Check This Out!” in which members shared some of their flagship and innovative programmes from the past year.
A Member's Forum looked at successful ABU programme activities over the same period.
Delegates also heard reports of the Radio Working Party and Programme Bureau, and discussed legal and copyright activities.
The Programme Committee unanimously elected a new Chairman, Mr Soleman Yusuf of RRI-Indonesia, for a two-year term. He succeeds Mr Chang Rok Han of KBS-Korea.
Mr Park Chun Ki of KBS was unanimously elected to replace Mr Soleman as a Vice-Chairman.
Meanwhile, the Sports Group Conference continued with presentations from industry players and an E-Sports Forum organised by the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF).
In the afternoon, the meeting went into a restricted session.
Technical Committee looks at future strategies
The ABU Technical Committee began its two-day meeting on 18 November, with future strategies and advanced technologies high on the agenda.
The Technical Committee Chairman, Mr Hamid D Nayeri of IRIB-Iran, presided over the meeting.
Mr Keiji Kodama, Director of Engineering Administration Department, NHK, welcomed participants on behalf of the host broadcaster.
In his opening address, the ABU Secretary-General, Dr Javad Mottaghi, said new technologies and advanced solutions were changing the way broadcasters operate.
“Media consumption is becoming more and more personal and the use of digital technologies to understand the preference of the audience is key to developing an edge over your competition.”
A highlight was a keynote presentation from NHK. Mr Kazutaka Ogata spoke on TV Production Technologies Beyond 2020 and Dr Kohji Mitani wowed delegates with a presentation on Diverse Media, a futuristic technology using augmented reality and virtual reality.
The afternoon saw sessions on future strategies and advanced technologies, with speakers from several countries sharing their views on a range of topics.
Day 2 will include a panel on the future of linear broadcasting and a session called “The Host Presents”, with four NHK specialists speaking.
Atsushi Haruguchi receives Distinguished Service Award
The ABU has conferred a Distinguished Service Award on Mr Atsushi Haruguchi, former Deputy Chief of Engineering and Director of the Engineering Administration Department at NHK-Japan.
The award was presented to him at the ABU Technical Committee Meeting in Tokyo on 18 November.
It recognises his important contributions to the development of television broadcasting, including the launch of 8K television.
Mr Haruguchi contributed greatly to the development and installation of the play-out system for radio, terrestrial and satellite television broadcasting at NHK's Engineering Administration Department.
He oversaw the technical planning of the entire department and contributed to promotion activity for the digitalisation of terrestrial television broadcasting in developing countries.
Mr Haruguchi was the Director of the Engineering Administration Department from 2014 and the Deputy Chief of Engineering from 2016, contributing to the launch of the world's first 8K television from December 2018.
He joined NHK in 1981. He has been the Senior Executive Officer of NHK Technologies, Inc. since June 2019.
ABU Engineering Award winners announced
The 2019 ABU Engineering Awards were announced and presented on 18 November at the Technical Committee Meeting.
The winners of the four awards are:
Broadcast Engineering Excellence Award: Mr Lee Chang Hyung, Technology Executive Managing Director, Korean Broadcasting System.
Engineering Industry Excellence Award: Dr Reza Alidadi, Technical Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.
Green Broadcast Engineering Award: The three joint winners are DRFT-NRTA China, AIR India and NBT-Thailand.
Developing Broadcasters' Excellence Awards: Mr Wali Ahmad Kabir, Head of TV, Technical Department of Radio & Television Afghanistan.
Technical Review prizes announced
The winners of the three Technical Review Prizes were announced at the Technical Committee Meeting on 18 November.
The prizes are awarded for articles contributed to the Technical Review from October 2018 to September 2019.
Mr Kim Hae Jung of KBS-Korea won the prize for the best article on practical implementation.
The prize for best article on research went to Mr Mohammad Paknahad, Mr Mahmoud Kiani and Dr Mohieddin Moradi of IRIB-Iran.
Mr M S Duhan of DD-India won for best article on case studies.
Monday, 17 Nov
NHK Showcase gets underway
A highlight of this year's ABU annual meetings, the NHK Showcase, has begun with a flourish.
The showcase opened on 17 November and will run alongside the meetings for five days, to introduce ABU members to NHK content and technology.
On the opening day it featured two special events in addition to the daylong exhibition.
One was a presentation on “A Stranger in Shanghai”, a drama based on a journal by famous Japanese writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa. The other was a look at how 1,500 young Japanese from different organisations have worked together to find a new approach for policy-making to solve social issues.
At the end of the first day, the showcase featured a meet-and-greet function for delegates to get together after their meetings.
Delegates have been enjoying the showcase. “It's fantastic cutting-edge technology,” said Durga Nath Subedi of NTV-Nepal.
Programme Committee opens
The ABU Programme Committee began its two-day meeting on 17 November, with an agenda that included two thought-provoking panel sessions.
If there was an overall theme running through both sessions, it was the need for broadcasters to find new ways to engage with younger viewers.
The Committee started with a special session of Future Co-Productions for Creating Innovative Contents where five panellists from Asia and Europe shared their views on how best create co-productions to provide an alternative to emerging new global players.
The moderator, Hakim Amir of Malaysia, said the key focus should be on engaging millennial viewers. It was a point echoed by panellists, some of whom noted that many young people were now watching less television.
Among the successful strategies highlighted by panellists was a European co-production alliance among public service broadcasters in Italy, France and Germany.
The session also heard how co-productions between various partners in Africa and overseas had attracted new viewers in Africa with their lively content.
The second session featured an expert panel who examined the issue of how broadcasters can cater to increasingly fragmented audiences.
Speakers from the UK, Turkey, New Zealand, Ireland and Japan gave their thoughts on how to respond to increased competition and changing audience habits, especially among younger people.
As one panellist noted, broadcasters can reach new audiences only by understanding them better. They need to determine why viewers and listeners choose the content they do, and develop new strategies to target them.
The meeting is being chaired by Mr Chang Rok Han of KBS-Korea. It continues on 18 November.
Sports Group focuses on rights issue
The thorny issue of sports rights was on many peoples' minds when the ABU Sports Group Conference began its two-day meeting on 17 November.
The meeting was chaired by Mr Kimoon Lee of KBS-Korea, Chairman of the Sports Group.
Welcoming participants, NHK's Head of Sports, Mr Minoru Tahara, said the changing media landscape had brought more challenges and more competition for broadcasters. NHK was taking these challenges very seriously, he said.
In his report to members, the Director, ABU Sports, Mr Cai Yanjiang, outlined the successes of the Sports Department over the past 12 months as well as some of the issues that needed to be addressed.
He said Sports Group members were facing huge pressure due to the overwhelming structural changes in the industry.
Sports was now considered less as a public resource to stimulate the public spirit and educate the youth, and more as a commercial tool attached to the sports events, he said.
Mr Cai said ABU Sports would work closely with its training partners to offer more training events to meet the requirement of members.
“In a fast changing industry, all of us have to learn, adapt and be more competitive in the modern media world.”
A Members' Forum at the meeting also concentrated heavily on the issue of sports rights, with complaints that some rights holders were attempting to extract too much money from broadcasters.
Technical Bureau looks at key issues
The ABU Technical Bureau met on 17 November to discuss important issues affecting broadcasters, including the transition to digital broadcasting.
The Bureau consists of 18 members elected from among the members of the ABU Technical Committee.
It meets twice annually, once in mid-year and once in conjunction with the General Assembly.
The meeting took place at NHK headquarters in Shibuya and was chaired by the Technical Committee Chairman, Mr Hamid D Nayeri of IRIB-Iran. Participants were also taken on a tour of NHK facilities.
Radio activities come under the spotlight
The focus was firmly on the importance of radio when the ABU Radio Working Party met on 17 November.
The half-day meeting included presentations on the latest artificial intelligence (AI) innovations for radio, how people can be trained as radio sports commentators in their local language, and how radio can help promote peace.
Mr Masakazu Iwaki of NHK demonstrated how the Japanese broadcaster is using AI in its radio services.
Ms Kim Kyung Hee of KBS-Korea briefed delegates on the International Radio Forum that KBS held in cooperation with the ABU in Seoul in August 2019.
The forum looked at how the media can become a more effective bridge builder and contributor to peace and social integration.
Aaron Kearney of AKS Media International described how women from Pacific Island and Australian indigenous communities have been trained to be radio sports commentators, attracting widespread praise for their work.
Radio Romania and Radio Republik Indonesia also gave presentations, and ABU Secretariat staff gave a rundown of radio activities over the past year.
Sunday, 16 Nov
Final preparations made for ABU meetings
Final preparations were underway on 16 November for the 56th ABU General Assembly and Associated Meetings, as delegates continued to arrive from the region and beyond.
The conference rooms were being readied and equipment put in place for the exhibitions and presentations that will form an important part of the meetings.
Also being installed were several large digital signage screens that will feature news, photos and information about the meetings, for use by participants.
NHK is hosting the annual meetings for the first time since 2010. They are expected to attract more than 600 participants, most of whom have not attended ABU meetings in Tokyo before.
The meetings come at a time of major change in the media landscape, with the growth of the internet and digital platforms posing challenges for broadcasters large and small.
Programme Bureau looks to the future
The ABU annual meetings began on 16 November with a meeting of the Programme Bureau.
The bureau is an advisory body to the Programme Committee and makes suggestions for future ABU programming activities.
Participants reviewed programming activities over the past year and looked at future activities, with a view to continuing to improve services for members.
The Programme Committee Chairman, Mr Chang-Rok Han of KBS-Korea, chaired the bureau meeting, and will report on its discussions to the full Programme Committee.
ABU meetings get into full swing
The 56th ABU General Assembly and Associated Meetings continue on 17 November with several meetings at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo Hotel.
More than 600 people from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond are expected to take part in the annual meetings, which last until 22 November.
The meetings are hosted by Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, which last hosted the General Assembly in 2010.
Those meeting on 17 November will be the Planning & Strategy Group, the Technical Bureau, the Programme Committee, the Radio Working Party and the Sports Group, including separate meetings of the Sports Broadcast Rights Committee and the Sports Finance Committee.
The General Assembly itself takes place on 21-22 November.
Other highlights will be the ABU TV Song Festival at NHK Hall on 19 November, and the presentation of ABU Prizes at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku on 21 November.
A special feature this year are two NHK Showcase Exhibitions, which will run alongside the annual meetings. One is on Content and the other on Technology. Please refer to the article “NHK Showcase” for details.
NHK Showcase - Get to Know all About NHK
A special event at this year's ABU meetings will be the NHK Showcase, which will run alongside the meetings.
The event will introduce ABU members to NHK content (Showcase 1) and technology (Showcase 2), focusing on 2020 and beyond.
Showcase 1, looking at Programs and Contents, will take place in the Crystal Room, Hyatt Regency Hotel.
This is a place to get to know more about NHK's programs and meet producers and directors. Delegates are welcome to drop in for screenings, presentations, workshops and networking events.
Showcase 2 will focus on Technology. The venue is Tenpyo Room, Hyatt Regency Hotel.
It will introduce the latest technology developed by NHK. The “8K Living Room” will allow delegates to experience 8K ultra-high definition video and 22.2 advanced audio, as well as presentations of many other cutting-edge technologies such as AI, AR, and VR.
NHK Showcase will run from Sunday 17 to Friday 22 November. It will be closed on Wednesday 20 November.
For more please see https://abu2019tokyo.jp/events.html#NHKShowcase
The logo for ABU Tokyo 2019
The distinctive logo designed by NHK for this year's ABU General Assembly depicts a pine tree - a symbol in Japan of long life, good health, prosperity and good luck.
The logo consists of three circles joined together.
These circles can be seen to represent several important concepts:
• TV, Radio and the Internet
• Past, Present and Future
• News, Entertainment and Education
• Content, Technology and Communication
This simple logo symbolises not only the diversity of the ABU but also its aspiration to provide the best possible experiences to everyone it serves.