In this biweekly Asia video spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different Asian markets.
* Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. plans to take on rival Amazon.com Inc. by launching its own video streaming service in India, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The online retailer plans to launch video streaming for members of its Flipkart Plus loyalty program by September. Flipkart will initially stay away from producing its own shows and will instead rely on licensing content from the likes of Walt Disney Co. and Balaji Telefilms Ltd.
* Beijing ByteDance Telecommunications Co. Ltd., creator of video app TikTok, rolled out a search engine in China that produces heavily scrubbed results, in compliance with the country's strict censorship rules, Bloomberg News reported. Toutiao Search, which bears similarities to Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC's home page, allows users to search for news, videos and information by typing in keywords.
* The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission expressed its intention to monitor video streaming platforms Netflix Inc. and YouTube LLC, CNN Indonesia reported. The news comes after Ajay Arora, director of product innovation at Netflix, said the company is in discussions with state-owned mobile operator Telkom Indonesia to unblock the video streaming platform in Indonesia, according to CNN.
Content and carriage deals
* India's Times Network struck a deal with Canada's TabletStream to add its channels on the livestreaming service's platform, The Economic Times (India) reported. Some of the Times Network channels now available on TabletStream include English news channels Times Now and Mirror Now, business news channel ET Now and Bollywood channel Zoom.
* Singapore-based broadcasting company MediaCorp Pte. Ltd. is partnering with beIN Media Group LLC unit beIN SPORTS to bring sports content to its digital video platform Toggle, Channel News Asia reported. Under the partnership, Mediacorp customers can subscribe to beIN SPORTS Pass, which gives access to live and on-demand football matches and the Rugby World Cup Pass.
* In related news, Singtel said it will provide complete and live coverage of the Rugby World Cup 2019 via the beIN SPORTS RUGBY channel on the company's CAST mobile video app and Singtel TV as a standalone pack.
* Kakao Corp. will sync its music platform Melon with TikTok, Money Today reported. With the update, users can connect from Melon to TikTok to watch video clips made with the songs they selected, and from TikTok to Melon to play music that was used in the video clip.
* Foxtel Cable Television Pty Ltd. and BBC Studios Ltd. have signed an agreement on the long-term extension of their partnership that will give the Australian pay TV operator access to premium British drama, entertainment, documentaries, natural history, children's programming and news for its broadcast and on-demand platforms. As part of the agreement, BBC Studios will provide thousands of additional hours of on-demand content, which will be available to viewers via the New Foxtel Experience user interface.
* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s Huawei Video launched a new channel called Bai Hua, which aims to foster content development, according to Ifeng.
* A research team at video streaming service iQIYI Inc. released a new cartoon dataset called iCartoonFace, Synced reported. The researchers say the anime-based dataset can apply to recognition research, cartoon person modeling and image classification.
* QYOU Media Inc. launched its flagship network, The Q India, on Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.'s over-the-top platform ZEE5.
* Vodafone New Zealand Ltd. announced the launch of Vodafone TV, a plug-and-play device that can turn a TV into a smart TV, with the ability to record content and rewind free-to-air channels for up to three days. The set-top box goes on sale in September for NZ$179 and will be preloaded with a range of apps including TVNZOnDemand, ThreeNow, Sky, Sky Sport, Netflix and YouTube.
* London-based video analytics startup Streamhub launched a cross-industry data management platform for online video called "catch-an" in Japan.
* Tencent Holdings Ltd. is in talks to invest up to US$1.5 billion in short-video platform Kuaishou, TechNode reported, citing Chinese financial blog IPO Zaozhidao. The development comes shortly after Tencent removed restrictions on using Kuaishou within its WeChat app.
* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission launched a new anti-piracy team dedicated to tackling the illegal streaming of the English Premier League, Post Today reported. The regulator will work with the police and internet service providers to ensure that websites hosting illegal Premier League streams are shut down within two days.
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