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Malaysia's iflix extends to 23 territories; Japanese JV to launch OTT platform

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

* Malaysia-based iflix is launching its streaming service in sub-Saharan Africa with the establishment of iflix Africa, which will extend the company's footprint to 23 countries. The company said additional regional markets will be added in a few months. Iflix is also teaming up with Jakarta-based broadcaster tvOne to offer live streaming coverage of Indonesia's first and second soccer leagues, Marketing Interactive reported May 30. Iflix will also feature all tvOne pre-match and post-match programs, along with the leagues' highlights.

* Six major Japanese media companies will jointly establish a new company in July to launch a new video streaming platform, The Nikkei reported May 24. The new company will have Tokyo Broadcasting System as its largest shareholder. The five other partners in the $35.8 million joint venture are newspaper publisher Nikkei Inc., TV Tokyo Holdings Corp., satellite TV broadcaster Wowow Inc., advertising agency Dentsu Inc. and Hakuhodo DY Media Partners. The new company will offer dramas, talk shows, live music and business news, among other content.

Content and carriage deals

* CBS Corp.'s Showtime brand has expanded into Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong, through a distribution deal with 21st Century Fox Inc. unit Fox Networks Group in Asia, TBI Vision reported June 1. Under the deal, Fox Asia viewers will gain access to the entire Showtime catalog, on-demand rights included.

* Australia's Network Ten will broadcast A-League and Socceroos matches, after striking a deal with the Football Federation Australia and FOX SPORTS Australia Pty Ltd. Under the deal, Network Ten will simulcast Fox Sports' entire coverage on its ONE channel and streaming service tenplay, according to a June 1 announcement.

* Bloomberg Media Group entered into a video content partnership with Yahoo Japan Corp., Marketing Interactive reported May 31. The deal will see subtitled Bloomberg video content, which includes business, finance, technology and lifestyle news, appear on Yahoo Japan's website.

* A reboot of the classic preschool show "Teletubbies" is heading to China through Alibaba's Youku, The Hollywood Reporter wrote May 30. The Chinese video streaming platform secured rights to the first two seasons of the show from Canada's DHX Media Ltd.

* Twitter Inc. partnered with Riot Games Inc. to livestream the inaugural "League of Legends: League of Origin" tournament globally on the microblogging website and connected devices.

* Youth Tencent, the film production arm of Tencent Holdings Ltd., attracted Fox International Productions as a partner for its 10-online-movie initiative, Variety reported May 29. Seven of the movies have completed production, and all of the 10 movies will be exclusively streamed on iQiyi, the video streaming platform of Baidu Inc.

* BBC Worldwide Ltd. struck a content deal with Shanghai Media Group Pictures, which will see the entire catalog of "Doctor Who" available on TV channels and on-demand platforms across China, the BBC unit said May 25.

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video added new Indian children's shows to its platform, including "Atchoo," "Astra Force," "Munki and Trunk" and "Zak Storm," Exchange4Media reported May 24.

Service launches

* YouTube Inc. rolled out YouTube Kids in Japan, Impress Watch reported May 31. YouTube Kids, which features educational videos and popular children's anime programs, was also launched in South Korea earlier in May.

Other news

* China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television returned the application of China Mobile Ltd., which wishes to start an IPTV business, Caijing reported June 5. China Mobile, which operates the less controlled OTT business, is required to strengthen the control and censorship of its broadcast platform to gain the IPTV license.

* SK Broadband is developing a set-top box equipped with SK Telecom Co Ltd.'s artificial intelligence personal assistant service Nugu, Chosun Biz reported May 26. Meanwhile, CJ HelloVision also established a consortium with domestic AI and robot tech companies to develop an AI set-top box and a portable AI robot.

* Panda TV, a Chinese live streaming startup, completed a 1 billion yuan series B funding, Sohu reported May 25. The company will expand the team and build its content ecosystem, tapping into entertainment, outdoors and sports content.

* Dish TV India Ltd. will incorporate a wholly owned subsidiary to start an over-the-top business, Television Post reported May 25.

* Hong Kong-listed Tian Ge Interactive Holdings Ltd. made a US$14 million investment in Huajiao Live Video, a live streaming app backed by Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd., China Money Network reported May 24. The transaction also sees the two companies forming a two-year strategic partnership to co-develop their live video-streaming business, advanced technology, business model and online live streaming product.

* China has shut down 10 live streaming platforms and fined 48 companies, The Associated Press reported May 24. Authorities also closed more than 30,000 studios and terminated 547 broadcasting contracts.