Mediaweek Asia: Weekly Roundup

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

Korean content expert joins iflix

Regional internet TV service iflix has appointed Asian content industry specialist Joon Lee (pictured) as special advisor to the iflix Group. Lee is an expert on Korean content and he will drive iflix’s Korean acquisitions. He is co-founder and president of LYD Networks, which represents 13 international channels in Korea, and he is developing four Korean drama projects, one set to go into production in March. Lee was previously a member of FOX International Channels senior leadership team where he was vice president of content and communications, and also managing director of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, overseeing FOX business in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Meanwhile iflix and Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator in the Middle East and Africa, have set up a joint venture, iflix Arabia, to service the Middle East and North Africa. The launch is planned for the second quarter of 2017. iflix Arabia will be headquartered in Dubai and trade in Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, with the potential to further extend into additional regional markets.

Ten companies shortlisted for Myanmar TV licences 

Myanmar’s Ministry of Information said 10 companies have now been shortlisted for TV licences, after 42 companies originally expressed interest in October last year. That number was then whittled down to 29, and this month the ministry released a shortlist of 10 companies after it enlisted the aid of a Yangon consulting firm, Tun Group Asia. Five of the 10 shortlisted companies will be granted TV licences but the ministry has not indicated when this will happen.

SPH and mm2 Asia launch livestream app

Rings Live, an interactive broadcasting mobile application jointly developed by the Chinese Media Group of Singapore Press Holdings and movie and content producing company mm2 Asia, has been launched in Singapore. In November last year SPH, mm2 Asia, and RingsTV signed an MOU to collaborate exclusively to rebrand, redesign and market a live and on-demand video application in Singapore, Livestream App. RingsTV’s Livestream app was recently renamed Rings Live.

Fibre optic network in Thailand launching cable TV

Thailand’s leading fibre optic network developer Fiber One has partnered with the Charoen Cable TV Group to launch  a high-definition Fiber TV cable service, to boost both companies’  customer bases to one million each this year. Fiber TV is Thailand’s first fibre optic network designed especially for providing cable TV service – normally the networks are used for high-speed internet.

Islamic broadcasting  forum in Indonesia

The fifth annual meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Broadcasting Regulatory Authorities Forum will be held in Bandung, Indonesia next week from February 21-24, and 57 Islamic countries will attend. In attendance will be Choi Sung-joon, chairman of the Korea Communications Commission, who has vowed to help spread “hallyu”  or “Korean Cultural Wave” to the Islamic world.

Southeast Asia lags digital ad spend trend

Digital ad spending in APAC this year will increase by double digits this year but Southeast Asia lags behind the trend, with digital ad spend predicted to remain below 20%, according to eMarketer and IAB Singapore. The Southeast Asia countries studied were Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. In Malaysia, total media ad spend will increase by 1.5% this year, with digital ad spend making up 19.7% of that total.

ABS-CBN reports audience growth

Philippines broadcaster ABS-CBN said that in 2016 its website breached three billion page views and averaged 40.3 million monthly users, according to web traffic data and analytics site Alexa. It ranked fourth in the Philippines after Facebook, YouTube, and Google. ABS-CBN also led all other media outlets on social media. Its Twitter account for its music channel MYX had 5.91m followers, and ABS-CBN News had 5.06m Twitter followers, compared to rival GMA News’ 4.94m. On Facebook, ABS-CBN  had 14.08m likes, and ABS-CBN News had 13.22m likes, compared to GMA Network’s 11.2m likes and GMA News’ 9.22m likes.

Thailand’s True Corp to re-launch IPTV service 

Thailand’s communications conglomerate True Corp is planning to relaunch its IPTV service called True TV, via an Android smart box connected to the internet.

True Corp originally introduced an IPTV service back in 2008, hoping to benefit from the convergence of operating telecommunication and subscription-based television services.

Indonesian news app

Indonesian news app Baca, owned by Hong Kong-based News in Palm, will invest US$10 million (A$13m) in, an Indonesian community site where users write and publish their own stories. Nulis says it wants to attract more Indonesian writers and bloggers, and says it will compensate contributors based on revenue-sharing.

Turner Southeast Asia restructures

Turner Asia Pacific has set up a new organisation, Turner Southeast Asia, which will see all its Southeast Asia efforts aligned under one executive, enabling Turner to better develop its expanding business in the region. The company has also appointed a new regional lead to be based in Singapore – Vishal Dembla has been named vice president and general manager of Turner Southeast Asia. He will be responsible for increasing Turner’s commercial and channel operations in the region, as well as management of its kids and entertainment businesses. His team will also handle network distribution, focusing on CNN International, Warner TV, Oh!K, Cartoon Network and Boomerang in Southeast Asia.

Indonesian ad spend growing

Indonesian ad spend returned to double-digit growth in 2016, according to a report from Nielsen’s Advertising Information Service. The report said that advertising spending in Indonesia increased 14% to Rp 134.8 trillion ($A13b) last year, up from Rp 118 trillion the previous year. Spending on TV ads continued to dominate, contributing to 77% of total 2016 ad spend, up 22% YOY.

Mediaweek Asia in brief

• Hong Kong’s PCCW Media company Vuclip will launch an Indian cricket comedy show titled What the Duck on its OTT service Viu next month.

• Pan-Asian channel operator Celestial Tiger Entertainment has appointed Vanessa Parmisano as director, advertising sales for the Philippines. She will deal mostly with Celestial’s channels KIX and Thrill. Previously she worked at Fox Networks Group.

• Murder mystery series Somewhere Between is the first American TV drama based on a Korean format, and will be broadcast in the US on ABC starting June.

• Singapore’s SPH Magazines will launch 12 of its flagship titles on local and international digital subscriptions service Singtel Newsstand. The 12 titles are Her World, Female, Torque, Home & Décor, Nuyou, Harper’s Bazaar, Cleo, Singapore Women’s Weekly, Shape, Young Parents, Men’s Health and IT publication HWM. Singtel Newsstand also processes SPH’s Straits Times newspaper subscriptions.

• The BBC is gearing up to launch the Korean-language radio service announced in November and the BBC’s Seoul Bureau is now looking for a bureau manager and for broadcast journalists to work in the field and in multimedia. The service will also be broadcast on shortwave to hopefully reach a North Korean audience without being blocked.

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