By 2017,the Asia-Pacific region will have three billion mobile connections. This kind of critical mass is turning digitally native emerging market companies into global powerhouses. China’s Alibaba has one of the biggest valuations in the world, and India’s Reliance Jio Infocomm is launching the largest 4G network in the world.

As online access, digital media consumption and online transactions explode, the opportunities for media and entertainment (M&E) companies seem irresistible. However, the reality is far more complex. Despite the significant potential, M&E companies need to go into emerging markets with their eyes wide open. Read more

Lee Eun-Seok woke up in the middle of the debris and looked for survivors but it was no use. Seoul had already turned into a huge hive, infested by giant hornets.

So goes the story in Hive, one of the “webtoons” that have become hugely popular in South Korea and which are poised to become the country’s next booming export, according to some bullish forecasts. Read more

The votes will be counted in India in just one week and there is just one day of voting still to go.

We take a look at media coverage of the election, to see who won the race for prime time coverage. Read more

India ElectionsIndians are braced for May 16, when votes in the country’s protracted parliamentary elections are finally due to be counted and the winners, and losers, of the world’s largest democratic exercise will finally be known. But in at least one aspect of the competition – the battle to dominate India’s prime time television news bulletins – the results are out.

It will come at little surprise that the winner of this particular horse-race is Narendra Modi, the three-term chief minister of Gujarat state and the man seen as most likely to emerge as India’s next prime minister once the election is over. Read more

Though opinion polls are predicting that the Bharatiya Janata Party will lead India’s next government, there are some skeptics. They don’t doubt that the opposition Hindu nationalists will win enough seats to form a coalition, but think it may not win enough to appoint its controversial prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi.

Now, a new poll says the party will win 226 of the 543 elected seats in the Lok Sabha. Add in its allies and that is a total count of 275 seats – enough to give Modi the top job. Read more

Slowly but surely Mumbai’s billboards are being filled with large, stern faces that gaze down ominously at passersby.

One picture of Rahul Gandhi, undeclared candidate for the incumbent Congress party, is emblazoned with the words: “Mein nahi, hum” (Not me, us). Even away from the streets in the confines of your sitting room, turn on the television and you might chance upon an advert by Tata Tea which encourages women to vote, making a symbol out of the black spot that will mark the forefinger of every voter in just a few weeks. Read more

There is nothing that the west – and we in the western media – love to hate more than when Chinese money threatens to take a chunk of the free media that we see as a cornerstone of our democracies. So when a Chinese recycling millionaire said he was buying the New York Times, we either squealed with outrage or denounced it as a publicity stunt (which it seems that it was). Read more

When he speaks, the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen usually creates a stir and even a giggle – it was no different at Jaipur Literature Festival this year.

Identifying one of the big failures in Indian society, Sen had the entire press terrace looking sheepishly at its feet. He pointed out that the media is in the hands of a privileged elite – and that is a big constraint on the world’s largest democracy. Read more

Waiting for Hollywood to call?

To the rest of the world, Bollywood is the face of Indian cinema. But the country’s lesser-known regional film centres, such as Kollywood and Tollywood, are emerging as the new money spinners in the industry.

Overall, the Indian film industry is set to grow by around 11.5 per cent over a five year period, hitting Rs193bn ($3.1bn) by 2017, according to a FICCI-KPMG report, on the back of a growing middle class population and plans to build more multi-screen cinemas. Read more

A CNN affiliate has launched a broadside against the Serbian government over a draft law that it says restricts media freedom, threatening to take the case to European level if Belgrade does not back down.

Brent Sadler, a veteran CNN reporter and now chief executive of N1, an affiliated local-language 24-hour news channel that would broadcast to Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia from their capital cities, told beyondbrics that the proposed electronic media law would “strangle the channel before it is born”. Read more

The Hindu, established in 1878, is one of the most respected newspapers in India. But a boardroom tussle has brought its family owners back into key editorial positions, raising questions about the quality of the press and governance in the world’s largest democracy. Read more

The surging popularity of the Japanese language and culture among young Indonesians, as reported in the FT, is good news for large Japanese companies such as Toyota, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Uniqlo, which are increasing their investments in southeast Asia’s largest economy.

It is also creating opportunities for small entrepreneurs like Vivian Wijaya, who runs Dr Vee Mangaka Club, a manga drawing school. Read more

Football is apparently the only thing more popular than faith among Indonesian TV viewers.

The latest viewing stats show that a third of all Indonesian TVs were tuned in to matches that English clubs Arsenal and Liverpool played there this month. Other than that, Islamic soap operas are ruling the day – and the night – in this mostly Muslim nation of 240m people. That’s especially true with Ramadan upon us, which creates perhaps the world’s most unlikely coveted prime time slot: 2.30am to 4.30am. Read more

For an online movie streaming service, selling DVDs in shops might seem like a backward step.

But for Nigerian film provider Iroko it’s all part of a long term plan to dominate online films in Africa. Having successfully set up an African diaspora-based business of streaming films all over the world, Njoku is looking to build its African audience. But the internet isn’t good enough in many parts of the continent. Which is why Iroko needs a DVD business, says founder Jason Njoku. Read more

Less than a year after Thailand’s much criticised auction of 3G mobile data spectrum, the country is putting digital TV licences up for sale.

The auction, planned for August or September, looks likely to shake up the broadcasting sector as Thailand attempts to modernise its most powerful advertising medium. Read more

By Graham Stack of bne

TVi, a Ukrainian television channel seen as a last bastion for opposition voices and critical investigative reporting, has fallen victim to a murky hostile takeover that it is feared may lead to its muzzling. Read more

A televised singing contest from China’s Hunan province is the latest front in the fight between China and Taiwan.

Many Taiwanese TV stations, including some news stations, devoted hours last Friday night to broadcasting the final round of Hunanese show “I Am a Singer”. That has prompted Taiwanese regulators to begin investigating whether any station broke laws covering the broadcast of Chinese programming. Read more

Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 2011©Distribution Workshop

Rapid growth in box office takings from Brazil, Russia, India and China has “flipped” the film market, focusing US filmmakers and distributors on international opportunities and creating a bigger US market for foreign films, according to Imax, the Canadian cinema group.

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It’s a strange time to be launching a men’s television channel in India, given the controversy over gender issues in the country and the outrage over several widely-publicised brutal rape cases.

But Anil Ambani’s Reliance Broadcast Network is going ahead anyway, teaming up with RTL Group, the European entertainment network, to launch Big RTL Thrill, a channel targetting Indian men aged between 15 and 44. Read more

With an eye on a forthcoming telecoms shake-up in Mexico and nearly 200m Spanish-speaking market, Michael Bloomberg’s eponymous news agency has this week formed a “multi-platform alliance” with the Mexican business daily El Financiero. Read more