Kees AbrahamsPresident, International Production, Sony Pictures Television 3/07/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern
One reason for paying close attention to Kees Abrahams and
the international production unit he runs at Sony can be
found in China. That’s where Sony broke new ground last
fall, as co-producer of the first U.S. talk show for the Chinese
market, with the launch of a local version of Dr. Oz that
has become the top-rated program on Zhejiang Satellite TV.
Such productions represent a major shift for the Hollywood
studios as they look for ways to capitalize on local
production, which is now the fastest-growing part of the international
Sony was the first of the major Hollywood studios to embrace local
production in a big way, producing more than 9,000 hours of TV programming outside the U.S. in the last
15 years. As part of that strategy, Sony spent Y114.3 million ($185 million) in 2008 to acquire the Dutch
company 2waytraffic and put co-founder Abrahams in charge of expanding its local production operations.
Last year, Abrahams opened new production companies in Brazil and Dubai.
Those developments are particularly notable because NBC Universal, Disney, Warner Bros., CBS and Fox
have also been expanding their format sales and local production efforts in recent years. Sales of U.S. movies
and primetime series still dwarf these local production efforts, but if Abrahams and other major studio executives
have their way, many of the studios’ hit factories will be based outside Hollywood.