TV Asahi Corporation

Company Info

With over 66 years of leading the Japanese content industry and having 25 network affiliate stations covering the nation, TV Asahi Corporation delivers top-rated drama series, enduring animation programs and high-quality variety shows that target the younger demographic, on top of broadcasting strong sports events and daily news shows. Read more

Contacts

To see the full company contact list with phone and email please Click here

Makiko Inaba

Director, International Sales

Yukie Uwakubo

Sales Executive, Finished Content & Formats

Mika Kanda

Sales Executive, Finished Content & Animation

Takamitsu Tagami

Sales Executive, Finished Content & Animation

TV Asahi Takes Animation & Formats from Japan to a Global Stage

For more than 30 years, the animated kids’ IPs Doraemon and Shin chan have been pillars of TV Asahi’s worldwide distribution business—and they remain so today. The shows are currently doing particularly well in India and throughout East Asia, as well as in Spain and Italy.

“Our emerging pillar is anime titles for a youth target,” says Maiko Sumida, head of animation sales and development. A recent hit has been The Dangers in My Heart, which has sold worldwide, including in North America and Europe.

Obocchama-Kun

Regarding the further development of animated properties, Sumida says: “We are announcing the collaboration with Sony Pictures Networks India on the production of Obocchama-Kun at this MIPCOM. We would like to have more collaboration with international partners for the global market. The significance of the international market is invaluable, and we would like to expand our footprint outside of Japan and Asia.”

From within the animated catalog, Doraemon has been a long-running success. It celebrated its 50th brand anniversary in Japan in 2020 and will be celebrating its 30th broadcast anniversary in Spain in 2024. Sumida puts its longevity down to the “relatable stories and characters with universal charm. On the production side, the 1,000-plus episodes from the TV series and movie that come out every year (for the past 40-plus years) keep attracting new eyeballs and create the fan base.” TV Asahi is looking for partners who can join the special celebration opportunities with the 55th brand anniversary coming up in just two years.

As for scripted and non-scripted formats, TV Asahi has secured numerous option and license deals with the U.S. and South Korea as of late and is actively driving these formats to be broadcast in the respective countries.

A current highlight in the way of formats is Trick House. This all-new mind-reading game show is set in a mansion filled with distraction traps designed by the mischievous owner to surprise guests. Each guest wears a device on their wrist that measures their pulse. If the heart rate increases and reaches a certain level, an alarm goes off. The alarm can go off up to three times before the end of the game, at which point the contestant must leave. If a contestant can avoid various tricks and obstacles and reach the end before the three alarms, they can win a prize. As a twist, there is a mole among them who pretends to be a guest. They are informed in advance of the owner’s plans and know where and what tricks are hidden. If the mole is clever and survives until the end of the game, the money will not be given to any of the guests but to the mole.

“Needless to say, the human pulse is linked to feelings of fear and surprise, which cannot be controlled,” says Setsuko Yoda, head of formats sales and development. “This show uses this to its advantage: only those who keep their cool until the end can win cash prizes. People love to see someone’s surprised face, not to mention the example of a surprise party. When it is a real reaction and not a celebrity act, it is sure to be a show that draws viewers in.” Trick House began airing on NRK in Norway in September and will “travel to many regions in the future,” Yoda adds.

TV Asahi has seen solid format success with U.S. production companies as well, she notes. “TV Asahi is Japan’s most powerful entertainment production house. Filled with exciting ideas and fresh innovations, our shows are very popular in Japan, and some of them have outstanding broadcast records, but not all of these shows have traveled overseas yet.

“This is where U.S. production companies are focusing their attention, trying to produce American versions of our great shows with their twist and bring them to the U.S. market, and we are trying to market them to the rest of the world,” Yoda continues.

An example that TV Asahi is currently working on for U.S. adaptation is the long-running Neighborhood Treasures. The show takes items precious to a neighborhood, such as a funny statue or an unusual food item served at a restaurant in that city, and pits them against each other. The funniest and most unusual treasure is awarded the title of Hall of Fame. “Several other formats are waiting in line for their turn,” Yoda says.

Scripted formats from TV Asahi have also been performing well, particularly in South Korea. “South Korea’s drama production capabilities are impressive, and we intend to actively produce drama series with South Korea in the future,” says Yoda. “As a start, we have signed license and option agreements with four major Korean production companies and are moving forward to realize Korean versions of these popular TV series of ours. The premise is that Japan and Korea are geographically close and have very similar cultures and sensibilities, which makes it easier to work together.”

Series with strong female leads and dark mysteries are performing particularly well, Yoda says, “and we hope to bring these popular Japanese titles to Korean audiences as well as to audiences around the world, combining great Japanese plots with great Korean production values.”

TV Asahi Touts Co-Development Opportunities & Fresh New Formats

There’s been a flurry of good news for TV Asahi as of late, as its formats continue to travel the world. For one, its young-skewed format Trick House has been adapted for a local version to broadcast this fall on the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK in a deal with Banijay. “We are very excited to be working with NRK, which also broadcast the hit series SKAM,” says Miyuki Nakasone, head of formats and remakes at TV Asahi.

Trick House is set in a house of horrors where ten young men wear heart rate monitors on their arms and compete to see how many pranks and frightening experiences the owner can play on them without their heart rate going up. One of the contestants, however, is a mole, who tricks and disturbs the other players.

In further bright spots, TV Asahi’s top-selling format Ranking the Stars has reached 18 seasons in the Netherlands. And its scripted format 7 Secretaries is being prepared for an adapted version to air in the U.S.

Recipe Roulette

TV Asahi has a strong new lineup for MIPTV as well. Particular highlights include the cooking format Recipe Roulette and the scripted format On a Starry Night

The uniqueness of the Recipe Roulette format is “the unexpected ‘lottery sensation’ brought into a cooking competition,” says Nakasone. In the format, two teams are made up of three people, each with different cooking skills and experience—namely good cooks and bad cooks. The team members are supposed to take turns cooking a given dish. The show consists of three rounds, and in each, the teams prepare an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert, resulting in a full-course meal. No recipes or instructions are included. The cooking time of the good and bad cooks is determined by the roulette wheel. At the end of the show, the teams will be judged by food experts, and the better team wins.

“During the pandemic, people have become more interested in home cooking,” Nakasone says. “This show is not only fun to watch, but also makes you want to get in the kitchen with your friends and family.”

Meanwhile, On a Starry Night features a May-December romance between a man who was born deaf and lost his parents in an accident at a young age but is not pessimistic and enjoys his life, and a woman who is a doctor with no disabilities but is traumatized by her past experience of causing the death of a patient due to malpractice. While she is an obstetrician/gynecologist who brings life into the world every day, his profession is one of confronting death: cleaning out people’s houses after they die alone.

“This is the memorable first series of our newly launched women’s drama slot this spring, and it broke all ratings records on TV Asahi’s catch-up streamer,” says Nakasone. 

Along with the love story, the various incidents that occur at the places of life and death where the protagonists work drive the plot forward. “In addition to the fact that the entire series is filled with rich conversations in sign language and deals with the universal theme of diversity, we believe that this kind of story, which heals the hearts of people weary from the pandemic, is what is needed in today’s world,” Nakasone says. 

With the easing of Japan’s Covid-19 restrictions, TV Asahi has been able to deliver fresh new formats. It has also positioned itself as a strong co-development partner and is open for collaboration. “TV Asahi has multiple platforms under its umbrella, in addition to terrestrial BS and CS stations, and when we collaborate with overseas production companies, there is no shortage of outlets to broadcast and distribute our work,” says Nakasone.

“In addition, we have many young and talented creators within the company, and we have established a training system whereby their creative ideas are first broadcast in the late-night slot as a test and then moved up a slot to prime time if they are successful in terms of ratings,” Nakasone continues.

“Our talented producers are always looking forward to ambitious co-development opportunities with overseas companies, and we are very open to working with foreign production and distribution companies.”

TV Asahi Brings Out Drama & Formats from Japan

TV Asahi’s strength in international distribution lies with its drama series, “especially our long-running detective series as well as our innovative medical dramas,” says Yumi Shimizu, co-director in charge of international distribution. “Adding to this, we used new approaches to produce Roppongi Class, the Japanese version of the popular Korean webtoon series, which has garnered strong interest from a young demographic this summer.” Animation for both kids and young adults are also steady earners, Shimizu notes. 

Roppongi Class

As medical dramas are still a big draw for audiences, TV Asahi has a brand-new series called The Travel Nurse premiering this October. The drama centers on two freelance nurses who move from hospital to hospital with one suitcase. “It’s a medical story set in the chaotic field of aging society and one after a global pandemic,” says Shimizu. “Produced by the creators of our megahit medical series Doctor-X, we have high expectations for the show.”

There’s also a robust slate of formats in the TV Asahi catalog. Sneak n Shop, a game show in which contestants need to avoid drones chasing them, gathered interest from several territories this year, according to Shimizu. 

The company’s brand-new launch is Fund My Fantasy, in which professionals gather to design a solution to various and seemingly impossible dream plans. At the end of the show, they will present the estimated cost to the audience. “It’s a fun show that stimulates and satisfies one’s intellectual curiosity,” says Shimizu. 

TV Asahi is also rebranding and relaunching two of its longest-running series. One is the romantic reality show Sweet Kiss, Bitter Kiss, which follows young actors and actresses performing together in scripted love stories to see whether they will develop actual feelings toward each other. The popular show is now in its eighth season in Japan. The other one is My Life in Your Textbook, airing now for more than eight years. In the popular studio show, real people share their own roller-coaster stories firsthand—their journeys, highs and lows, hopes, fears and shattered dreams.

“We feel that there is high demand for both scripted and non-scripted formats,” Shimizu says. 

As TV Asahi gears up for Cannes, Shimizu notes that “more than anything, we are excited to be back at MIPCOM and have face-to-face meetings with people all around the globe.” Shimizu adds that exploring co-production and co-development opportunities is also on the planner.

SHOWCASE: TV Asahi Formats Are Ready to Entertain

The Japanese market has proven to be a prolific supplier of outside-of-the-box formats, which have piqued the attention of audiences around the world. TV Asahi, for one, has been feeling the strong momentum of the increased demand coming from the marketplace. “We are definitely getting more attention than before and have made several option and distribution deals on various scales,” says Miyuki Nakasone, sales executive for formats at TV Asahi.

Most recently, TV Asahi partnered with Small World IFT to distribute Happily Ever Apart, a divorce-relationship show, worldwide (TV Asahi continues to handle China and Southeast Asia). Media Ranch has optioned the format for the U.S. production company Figure 8 Films. TV Asahi also just optioned its game format Sneak n Shop to Conrad Films for German-speaking territories in Europe.

“In the Japanese market, talk shows and quiz shows are always the most popular,” says Nakasone. “From international buyers, the first things they ask from us are physical game shows, then reality entertainment formats.”

TV Asahi has four new unscripted formats and two scripted formats for this season. Among them, Welcome to the House of Gifts is a reality show in which a group of celebrity hosts visits beautiful homes of the rich and famous, and the items they get from those houses will be used to renovate clients’ houses.

Hands Off and Acting Out are both new types of game shows, Nakasone says. In Hands Off, contestants must complete different missions without touching objects and obstacles. Nakasone describes Acting Out as a “fun” and “crazy” show in which celebrity contestants are asked to listen to several scripted and witty narrations and have to act creatively to match the bizarre context.

Then there is Shuffle Island, a reality show involving a group of attractive young people looking for love, taking place on two remote islands. “Launched last November on our affiliate Abema TV streaming platform, it has become extremely popular with young audiences,” Nakasone says. “It is a new type of reality show, where ‘chance’ plays a big part in the love drama.”

On the scripted front, The Men of the WADA Family is a sitcom-style series featuring three generations of a family living together. All three are male and work in different media outlets: newspaper, television and web journal. Switch, meanwhile, is a feature-length drama full of dark humor, written by award-winning writer Yuji Sakamoto, centering on an ex-couple with a shocking secret.

“Being a national broadcaster, we constantly produce new shows for the Japanese market, and as the supplier of the most successful drama and entertainment shows, we have many producers eager to create new types of formats,” Nakasone says. “We are always trying to bring to the market some of those brand-new concepts.”

Company profile

With over 66 years of leading the Japanese content industry and having 25 network affiliate stations covering the nation, TV Asahi Corporation delivers top-rated drama series, enduring animation programs and high-quality variety shows that target the younger demographic, on top of broadcasting strong sports events and daily news shows.

Contacts

To see the full company contact list with phone and email please Click here

Makiko Inaba

Director, International Sales

Yukie Uwakubo

Sales Executive, Finished Content & Formats

Mika Kanda

Sales Executive, Finished Content & Animation

Takamitsu Tagami

Sales Executive, Finished Content & Animation

Makiko Inaba

Director, International Sales

Yukie Uwakubo

Sales Executive, Finished Content & Formats

Mika Kanda

Sales Executive, Finished Content & Animation

Takamitsu Tagami

Sales Executive, Finished Content & Animation

Miyuki Nakasone

Co-Director, International Distribution

Setsuko Yoda

Head, Formats Sales & Development

Mariko Sato

Sales Executive, Formats & Animation

Xueqian Cao

Sales Executive, Formats

Maiko Sumida

Head, Animation Sales & Development

Kaori Hanai

Sales Executive, Animation Sales & Development

Kanon Asami

Development Executive, Animation Sales & Development

All from TV Asahi Corporation

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