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Netflix ramps up Asia projects for growth; streaming service Viu exiting India

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MediaTalk | Season 2
Ep.1: Broadcast's Big Year


Global M&A by the Numbers Q4 2023

Netflix ramps up Asia projects for growth; streaming service Viu exiting India

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. revealed several new projects to fuel its further growth in the Asia-Pacific region, one of its fastest-growing markets. The streaming service expanded its mobile-only plan to Indonesia and is testing longer subscription plans in India, where it plans to spend US$420.5 million on original and licensed content. Netflix will also turn a set of characters made popular by Japanese messaging app LINE Corp. into an original animated series.

* Viu, a video streaming service owned by Hong Kong's PCCW Media Ltd., is shutting down its India operations amid intense competition in the country's overcrowded streaming market, The Economic Times (India) reported. The company attributed its decision to exit India three years after its launch to the heavy investments needed to operate in the South Asian country.

Content and carriage deals

* Naver Webtoon Corp. subsidiary Studio N will co-produce the Netflix original Korean series "Sweet Home," which is based on a webcomic, E Daily reported.

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. is offering premium streaming service Lionsgate Play to its users in India, as part of a tie-up with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and Starz's subscription streaming platform Starzplay. Subscribers of the Indian telecom operator will be able to watch content from Lionsgate Play through the Airtel Xstream mobile app and web platforms.

* Singtel is adding Blue Ant Media Inc.'s general entertainment channel to its Singtel TV and Singtel TV GO platforms Dec. 23, World Screen reported. Blue Ant Entertainment offers reality, drama, award shows, celebrity talk shows and entertainment news content.

* Foxtel Cable Television Pty. Ltd. struck a new agreement with Discovery Inc. to add more factual, lifestyle and entertainment content from Discovery Channel, TLC, Discovery Turbo and Animal Planet to its platforms.

* Mumbai-based sports aggregator platform FanCode struck an exclusive, multiyear deal to stream the Bangladesh Premier League in India, MediaInfoline reported.

* SKY Network Television Ltd. added sports and entertainment free-to-air channel Prime to its Freeview streaming service.

* iFlix Sdn. Bhd. partnered with tech company Migo to deliver paid and sponsored premium video content to customers in Indonesia with limited online connectivity. Slated to launch in the first quarter of 2020, Migo Indonesia will feature iflix content alongside curated films and TV series.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. struck a deal with Manchester United to bring exclusive content from the professional football club to its streaming platform.

* Singapore-based MediaCorp Pte. Ltd. is working with ViuTV, a streaming service operated by HK Television Entertainment Co. Ltd., to co-produce two Chinese series.

Service launches

* KT Corp.'s music streaming platform Genie Music launched Virtual Play, a service that allows users to watch music performances and albums in virtual reality, augmented reality and hologram technologies, Korea JoongAng Daily reported.

* Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd. collaborated with storytelling platform Comicflix Inc. to launch Bollywood films in the comic format, Television Post reported.

Other news

* New Zealand-based entertainment company SKY Network Television Ltd. agreed to acquire streaming service Lightbox from wireless carrier Spark New Zealand Ltd. SKY said the deal will enable it to merge Lightbox with its own streaming platform, Neon, to offer viewers an expanded range of entertainment content from local and abroad.

* Tencent Video and iQIYI Inc. lowered the tariffs for their VIP members after the companies came under fire on social media for charging premium subscribers additional fees for earlier access to shows, National Business Daily reported. Tencent Video reduced the fee to 3 yuan per show from 50 yuan for six shows. IQIYI also modified its pricing to 3 yuan per show, but with a limit of six shows per user.

* Beijing Kuaishou Technology Ltd. is beta-testing a short video app for teenagers that features educational content, KrASIA reported.

* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd., the parent company of video app TikTok, reached a US$1.1 million settlement with a group of parents who alleged that the company collected and used children's personal information, The Verge reported, citing a statement from the company.

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