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BHP looks forward

NHNZ sister company, Singapore-based Beach House Pictures, marked its 10th birthday last week with plenty to celebrate and look forward to.

Less than a week after the party, the company added to its impressive awards haul when Taiwan Made took the Best Science Programme award at the Golden Bell Television Awards in Taipei.

Company founders Jocelyn Little and Donovan Chan founded BHP to produce international programmes using a co-production model. Their goal was to grow the company into an Asian media production powerhouse with global reach, something they achieved early on through a combination of quality work and strategic alliances.

The partnership with NHNZ began in 2006 when the companies teamed for Discovery series Man Made Marvels, focusing on Asia’s most impressive engineering achievements. A year later the pair teamed up again to co-produce the second series with support from Singapore NZFC/NZ On Air equivalent, Media Development Authority (MDA). 

NHNZ bought into BHP in 2008, each party leveraging the other’s relationships and experience in various Asian and international markets. Together, they were in early in the move to create 3D TV content. As the market continues to fragment we are sharing intelligence and ideas to stay focused on the opportunities ahead.

Late in 2012, David Haslingden took over BHP, NHNZ (and later added Australia’s Northern Pictures). Since then, it’s been “largely been business as usual” according to Little, which has meant considerable growth at BHP.

From its original pair of founding partners, BHP now has 65 staff, over 500 hours of content under its belt and has expanded to add new divisions Beach House Kids, Beach House Entertainment and Beach House Studios.

Also in the mix is ZooMoo (“all animals, all the time”). Originally conceived as a TV channel, it’s seince extended to offering an app and supplying blocks of programming or individual programmes. In NZ, a recent deal with Lightbox puts ZooMoo content on the SVOD platform.

Little and Chan noted a number of successes over the last decade, including an exclusive production deal with Lonely Planet in Asia, their award winning co-production with Northern Pictures, Kakadu, and taking a record 10 nominations at last year’s Asian TV Awards. Five turned into wins or Special Mentions.

Mostly, the company’s ongoing developing long-term relationships with international broadcasters.

BHP is also moving into narrative content through its Beach House Kids division. After Kids V Film (Discovery) and child-focused content for ZooMoo, the company has a development deal for James Lee’s Mr Midnight series of books.

The growth is driven by the changes affecting the industry. As it has elsewhere, the production environment in Singapore has changed considerably over the last 10 years, with new platforms, digital distribution, audience fragmentation. Chan and Little view those changes as opportunities more than threats.

“There are now a lot more broadcasters commissioning different genres of content,” said Little, acknowledging the considerable number of pan-Asian broadcasters now headquartered in Singapore. “This has not only be beneficial to the local talent pool but has enabled Beach House Pictures to grow into one of the largest independent production companies in Asia.

“Over the next 10 years, the media landscape will continue to shift and change significantly. Our plan is to continue to not only expand our production capabilities into new ares such as fiction but to also explore new technologies and ways to access our audience globally.”

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