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Netflix unveils new mobile plan in India; ByteDance to develop smartphone

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.

Top news

* Netflix Inc. is holding partnership discussions with major telecom operators and internet service providers in India to expand its reach and resolve billing issues in the country, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing Nigel Baptiste, director of partner engagement at Netflix. The move comes shortly after the company unveiled its cheapest mobile streaming plan for users in India, which costs 199 Indian rupees per month.

* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd., owner of Chinese video app TikTok, confirmed earlier reports that it plans to produce a smartphone. Meanwhile, TikTok took down more than 6 million videos that violate content guidelines in India, The Times of India reported. The development comes shortly after ByteDance said it will set up data centers in India. This comes at a time the company is facing regulatory scrutiny in the country after the government issued notices to TikTok and Helo over allegations that the social media platforms have become "a hub of anti-national activities."

Content and carriage deals

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. renewed its agreement with the National Basketball Association Inc. until 2025 to offer NBA content across online platforms in China. Meanwhile, NBA 2K League announced a partnership with Tencent that will see the Chinese tech giant streaming condensed versions of the 2019 NBA 2K League Playoff and Finals games to its online platforms, such as Tencent Sports, Tencent Video and Tencent News.

* Balaji Telefilms Ltd.'s subscription video-on-demand service ALTBalaji is partnering with Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.'s over-the-top platform ZEE5 to produce over 60 original TV series in Hindi, which will be available exclusively to both platforms.

* Vodafone Idea Ltd. is partnering with ZEE5 to make ZEE5 Theatre available to its customers. ZEE5 Theatre, which offers plays in different genres, can be accessed by Vodafone Idea customers as a live channel on Vodafone Play and Idea Movies & TV app.

Service launches

* Chinese livestreaming platform DouYu International Holdings Ltd. is forming a joint venture with Tokyo-based trading company Mitsui & Co. Ltd. to enter the Japanese market, Nikkei Asian Review reported. DouYu is slated to launch its Japanese services in September.

* LINE Corp.'s online streaming platform Line TV is now available on Ha TV+, the over-the-top service of Taiwan Optical Platform Co. Ltd., UDN reported.

* SKY Network Television Ltd. is launching a new sports streaming app called Sky Sport Now. Available from Aug. 14, Sky Sport Now includes all 12 Sky Sport channels, with dedicated homes for rugby, cricket, football and golf.

* Foxtel Cable Television Pty. Ltd. introduced The New Foxtel Experience, a revamped customer interface for users of the company's iQ3 and iQ4 set-top boxes. As part of the upgraded interface, Netflix content will be available on Foxtel. The Australian pay TV operator said software updates will be rolled out remotely over the coming months.

* Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd. unit Viacom18 Digital Ventures launched Voot Kids, an over-the-top platform focused on children's content. According to Television Post, the app is available for download on Google LLC's Play store and Apple Inc.'s App Store.

Other news

* South Korean video streaming platform AfreecaTV Co. Ltd. acquired NHN Corp.'s podcast platform PODTY to target the audio content market, Money Today reported.

* Malaysia-based video-on-demand service iflix Sdn. Bhd. raised over US$50 million in a funding round led by Fidelity International Ltd., with existing investors Catcha Group, Hearst Corp., Sky Ltd. and EMC Holdings LLC also participating in the round.

* Tencent-backed short video app Kuaishou is testing a function that allows users to post videos lasting up to 10 minutes, TechNode reported, citing 36Kr.

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