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South Korean OTT platforms Oksusu, POOQ to merge; Baidu wins case against TikTok

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

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. revealed plans to merge its mobile media platform Oksusu with over-the-top service POOQ, which is jointly operated by Munhwa Broadcasting Corp., Seoul Broadcasting System and Korean Broadcasting System, Financial News reports. Under the plan, Oksusu will be merged with POOQ service operator Content Alliance Platform Inc. to create a new corporation.

* Beijing's new internet court dismissed the copyright lawsuit of Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd.-owned short video app TikTok against Baidu Inc.-backed streaming platform Huopai. According to Yicai Global, TikTok filed the 1 million yuan lawsuit against Baidu for spreading exclusive short videos on its Huopai platform and allowing users to download them without permission.

Content and carriage deals

* PCCW Media Ltd. secured the exclusive Premier League broadcast rights in Hong Kong for the 2019/20 to 2021/22 seasons. Under the renewal, PCCW Media's Now TV will continue to be the exclusive licensed broadcaster in Hong Kong, delivering live coverage of all 380 matches.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Changsha-based TV station mgtv.com Corp. signed an agreement to allow the Chinese smartphone manufacturer to stream MGTV's content on Huawei smartphones, Sina reports. The partnership will also see Huawei supplying the TV station with technologies including AI and targeted content distribution.

* JioCinema, a movie app owned by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., partnered with Walt Disney Co.'s India unit to offer a dedicated section of Pixar, Marvel and Lucas content on its platform, Mint reports.

* Vodafone Idea Ltd. is partnering with Bangla entertainment content provider hoichoi to offer customers access to hoichoi's exclusive digital content, Television Post reports. Under the tie-up, both Vodafone and Idea customers will be able to access the content on Vodafone Play and Idea Movies and TV app, respectively.

Service launches

* KT Skylife launched the Android Ultra HD 2.0 set-top box, equipped with Android 8.0 Oreo operating system and artificial intelligence-powered Google Assistant, Digital Daily reports.

* LG U+ introduced a portable IPTV set-top box called U+tv Free, equipped with NAVER Corp.'s artificial intelligence platform Clova, Financial News reports. The product allows users to access all U+tv services without a separate sign-in process and also supports voice command-based control of connected gadgets. The company also added 37 new channels to its IPTV service U+tv, according to ZDNet Korea.

* Smart DMB, a video platform operated by Omni Networks Co. Ltd., launched SMARTOON, a webtoon service which aims to create a synergy between its traditional video-on-demand service and web comic content, E Daily reports. The company will also start producing and servicing web drama and entertainment shows based on SMARTOON comics from January 2019.

Other news

* Seoul-based cable TV operator D'Live is connecting Kakao Corp.'s artificial intelligence speakers Kakao Mini and Kakao Mini C to its new set-top box model, ET News reports. The AI service combines the company's own voice processing technology D-Voice and Kakao's AI platform so that users can control the set-top box with voice commands.

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