Mediaweek Asia: Weekly Roundup

Peter Olszewski round out the week’s media news in the Asian market

iflix spreads its wings again

iflix has announced it will be launching soon in Pakistan and has opened online registration for people wanting further information as it becomes available. A spokesperson wouldn’t reveal the launch date, saying only “sooner than soon”. The spokesperson added: “We’ve quite a few surprises in store that will leave you impressed.”

Freebie HK Magazine to shut down

“Say it ain’t so!” bemoaned Coconuts Bangkok, reporting on the closure of the 25-year-old “beloved” HK Magazine. Owner the South China Morning Post earlier confirmed that it will close its free lifestyle and entertainment publication HK Magazine due to “challenging market conditions”.  In other words it wasn’t getting enough ads. SCMP said the last issue will be published next Friday 7 October and its website and social media pages will close a few days later.  The publication is mostly given away in bars and cafes, was launched in 1991, and was bought by SCMP in 2013 for HK$13 million (A$2.2m) when the circulation was claimed to be 50,000. Last year, the SCMP Group was acquired by the Alibaba Group.

SPH newspapers win print awards

Three of Singapore Press Holdings’ newspapers won “Best in Print” gongs in the 2016 Asian Media Awards. SPH’s English flagship newspaper The Straits Times won the gold award in the category for circulation over 150,000 copies. Chinese-language daily Lianhe Zaobao and Malay-language daily Berita Harian won the gold and bronze awards respectively in the category for circulation below 150,000 copies. SPH was a successful participant in the International Newspaper Colour Quality Club competition in 2016. It submitted the three newspaper titles for assessment and this gave SPH automatic entry into the “Best in Print” Awards.

Philippines Cignal TV to carry Hits

Philippines’s subscription-based Cignal TV will now carry Hits, an HD channel which shows classic US TV series, from 10 October. Hits was first launched in the Philippines on SkyCable two years ago. Hits is the maiden venture of Singapore-headquartered Rewind Networks which launched in late 2013. It is now in more than eight million homes throughout Southeast Asia.

Xinhua’s website gets go ahead for IPO

China’s official news agency Xinhua has received the go ahead for an initial public offering (IPO) for its online platform, The company will issue 51.9 million shares, equal to 25% of total equity after the floatation, to raise about 1.5 billion yuan (A$293m.) The go ahead has been some time coming – Xinhua’s application was first accepted by China’s securities regulator three years ago.

StarHub launches the Smithsonian Channel in Singapore

Singapore’s StarHub TV claims a “first in Asia” by launching the Smithsonian Channel HD on Tuesday. StarHub said the agreement to launch the channel was brokered by Asia’s “leading distributor of independent pay TV channels”, Multi Channels Asia.

Tom Hayden, president, Smithsonian Channel, said, “The launch of Smithsonian Channel in Singapore is another step in our ongoing efforts to expand the brand to an international audience. We are excited that StarHub TV customers will be first in Asia to enjoy Smithsonian Channel HD.” The Smithsonian channel is a joint venture between the Smithsonian Institution and CBS’s Showtime Networks, and the Singapore deal is the first outside of the US.

SPH Magazines named top Singapore publisher in survey

SPH Magazines is the top publisher in Singapore based on the 2016 Media Spend Benchmarking Survey, conducted by Marketing magazine. The survey showed that SPH had the most titles coming first in eight categories including Women’s Magazine of the Year, Women’s Fashion Magazine of the Year, Men’s Magazine of the Year, Motor Vehicle Magazine of the Year, Luxury Magazine of the Year, Teens Magazine of the Year, Parenting Magazine of the Year and In-flight Magazine of the Year. SPH Magazines particularly dominated the women’s market, claiming top spots with Singapore’s number one women’s magazine Her World, Cleo Singapore and The Singapore Women’s Weekly in the Women’s Magazine of the Year category.

SPH also wins Media Publishers Association awards

SPH Magazines won five top awards for its key titles at the Media Publishers Association Singapore Awards 2016. The company’s luxury mag, Icon, was named Chinese Media of the Year. Luxury lifestyle magazine The Peak’s quarterly spinoff title, The Peak Selections: Gourmet & Travel, won Food Media of the Year for the third year running, as well as Video Media of the Year (Online). Her World was named Women’s Media of the Year, and Harper’s Bazaar was awarded Front Cover of the Year (Licensed).

Hong Kong’s TVB launches electronic mall in Australia

Hong Kong’s TVB has launched an electronic shopping mall, TVB Anywhere, which the company said, “looks set to change the way people around the world watch TVB dramas and other programs. Overseas viewers in Canada, UK, Australia and beyond can access TVB Anywhere which will offer them more than the usual OTT or video streaming service.” The shopping mall carries TVB Jade, News and other thematic channels including Asian Action, Entertainment News, TVB Live Shows and TVB Radio as well as video-on-demand programs which can be viewed on a prescribed set-top box or mobile app.

South Korea’s LG Uplus wants cable TV channel

South Koreas’ smallest mobile carrier LG Uplus is looking to buy a cable TV operator to achieve “economies of scale”. According to observers, LG Uplus would probably want to buy one of the top four operators – CJ HelloVision, D’Live, Hyundai HCN and T-Broad. Observers also note that LG Uplus’ bigger competitor SK Telecom failed to purchase CJ HelloVision due to opposition from Korea’s anti-trust watchdog. But LG UPlus brushed this aside, claiming that SK Telecom failed to take over CJ HelloVision because it did not follow correct procedures.

Mediaweek Asia In Brief

• South Korea’s largest broadband internet operator KT Corp has bought the county’s top online advertising agency N Search Marketing Corp, paving the way for KT to capitalise on the growing market for search-based ads.
• Asia’s online real estate ad business iProperty Group has launched CommercialAsia, a one-stop commercial property listing site targeting investors and property agents.

• Alibaba will top China’s digital advertising market in 2016, surpassing current leader Baidu amid tighter internet advertising regulations which might reduce overall revenues. New York’s eMarketer estimates that Alibaba’s share of China’s 2016 digital ad revenue will be 28.9% compared to 24.8% the previous year.

• Philippines broadcaster ABS-CBN  will give viewers “an immersive experience of its shows, characters, and stories” in a  deal it has signed with Ayala Malls, the premier lifestyle mall in the Philippines to open the first ABS-CBN Experience Store in Quezon City in 2017.

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