By: Patrick Frater


Singapore will launch the Asian Academy Awards as a new event in December that will form part of its Singapore Media Festival cluster. The AAA takes the place of the troubled Asian Television Awards.

The Asian Academy Awards will combine an awards show with industry development elements. It will run Dec. 6-7, 2018. “The AAA will recognize quality broadcast and other forms of media content, including OTT, short-form and immersive media content, from across the region, such as Singapore, Australia, China and South Korea,” organizers said in an announcement circulated by the Singapore government’s Infocomm Media Development Authority. “The AAA is also committed to nurturing future generations of storytellers through its ‘Skills Development Programme.’ The program includes case studies, internship programs, masterclasses and industry panels.”

The new AAA is operated by a for-profit company, Asian Academy Awards Pte Ltd. It is not affiliated with Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Academy Awards, or Oscars. The SMF (Nov. 28-Dec. 9, 2018) is backed by the IMDA.

Organizers told Variety that they are developing the event using the “Triple As” or AAA as an informal working title. The formal name will be unveiled at an industry event on Aug. 16.

The AAA counts on the participation of leading media industry executives. ActiveTV president Michael McKay is set as AAA president. Christine Fellowes, MD, Networks, Asia Pacific, at NBCUniversal International Television, will be the chair of the AAA’s skills development program. Media industry veteran, Ricky Ow, president of Turner Asia Pacific, is the AAA’s inaugural awards chairman.

The new show fills a gap in the SMF created by the legal troubles of the long-running Asian Television Awards. In May, the IMDA withdrew its sponsorship of the Asian Television Awards after it emerged that Contineo Media, awards organizer for the past five years, had failed to staff salaries and mandatory pension fund contributions.

In a court ruling, Contineo was ordered to pay McKay’s ActiveTV $214,000 (S$292,000) of outstanding production fees and S$2,000 of costs. It has since been reported that Contineo boss Raymond Wong has been told to appear before the High Court next months to explain why he has defied the court’s payment order.

Wong has continued to promote his Asian Television Awards as going ahead in December. That is despite the court rulings, the withdrawal of state-owned broadcaster MediaCorp as a key sponsor, and now the launch of a rival event.

Robert Gilby, chairman of the SMF Advisory Board said: “The AAA will be a key platform to showcase outstanding Asian content and talent to the world, and complements SMF’s commitment to recognizing creative excellence.”

Up to 23 interns from Singapore’s institutes of higher learning will be invited to participate in the production of the AAA as part of the Skills Development Programme.