In this monthly feature, SNLKagan provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand andother online video initiatives in different Asian markets.
*Netflix Inc. isplanning to exportlocally produced Asian content, including content from India, worldwide as partof its new long-term strategy, NexTV News India reported April 29. ChiefContent Officer Ted Sarandos said that besides producing content for Asianaudiences, Netflix is planning to work with Indian producers to make Bollywoodmovies a couple of years down the line. Meanwhile, Netflix CEO Reed Hastingssaid that the streaming giant's service has been barely optimized since itsJanuary debut for Asian viewers.
Content and carriage deals
*India's Eros International Plchas partnered withAmazon.com Inc. tooffer its over-the-top service Eros Now on Amazon Fire TV, according to a May 4news release. Under the deal, Amazon Fire TV users in the U.S., the U.K. andWestern Europe will be able to access Eros Now's collection of Hindi, Tamil andother Indian-language titles. Content will be available on the Eros Now app,which can be accessed via the Amazon store. Users can stream content onmultiple devices. Amazon will co-market Eros Now across all relevantgeographies with Amazon Fire TV.
*South Korean live TV streaming and video-on-demand platform Pooq has struck adeal to streamTime Warner Inc.'sCNN International (US)and Cartoon Network (US),Rapid TV News reported April 29, citing an official statement. The deal allowsPooq subscribers to watch new episodes of Cartoon Network shows such as "ThePowerpuff Girls," "Ben 10" and "Adventure Time," inaddition to CNN International programming. Operated by the Content AlliancePlatform, Pooq is a joint venture among South Korean public broadcasters KBS,MBC and SBS.
*Time Warner's Warner Bros.Entertainment Inc. and RatPac Entertainment have a new film fund in a bid toexpand their investments in China, TheHollywood Reporter reported April 27, citing director turned movie mogulBrett Ratner. The fund will focus exclusively on Chinese-language content forthe country's flourishing film market. Ratner and Li Ruigang, former head ofShanghai Media Groupand head of state-backed investment group China Media Capital, are looking to produce Hollywoodstyle movies with Chinese cultural stories. RatPac has a standing arrangementwith Warner Bros. to co-finance almost every film in the studio's slate, aswell as an existing investment in China. In 2013, RatPac and Time Warner becameco-investors in China Media Capital.
*Genius Brands International Inc. has securedmultiproperty licensing agreements in Asia, in a bid to expand the global reachof its "content with a purpose" catalog, according to an April 26news release. Singapore's MediaCorpPte. Ltd. has acquired broadcast rights to animated feature "StanLee's Mighty 7" and 26 episodes of adventure series "Thomas Edison'sSecret Lab," while Indonesian TV channel Spacetoon has licensed rights to26 episodes of "Warren Buffett's Secret Millionaires Club," "ThomasEdison's Secret Lab" and "Stan Lee's Mighty 7." Hong Kongbroadcaster TVB also acquired the rights to "Thomas Edison's Secret Lab."Genius Brands International's multimedia catalog is targeted toward toddlersand tweens.
*Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'sfilm unit Alibaba Pictures has agreed to invest in ParamountPictures Corp.'s "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of theShadows" and "Star Trek Beyond" movies, Screen Daily reportedApril 18. The two movies will be released in China during the second half of2016 with Huaxia Film and China Film Group as its distributors. The releasewill be supported by Alibaba's online ticketing platform Taobao Movie andcrowdfunding platform Yulebao. Paramount Pictures is a unit of
*21st Century Fox Inc.'sStar India Pvt. Ltd.is launching a sportssubscription service on its over-the-top platform Hotstar, Television Postreported May 9. The premium service will enable Hotstar users to access StarIndia's digital sports catalog. Star India holds broadcast rights to, amongothers, the English Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga, several localsporting leagues and the cricket boards of India, England and Australia.
*Viacom International MediaNetworks is launchingits Play Plex mobile app suite in Asia, starting in Singapore throughSingTel, TBI Vision reported April 28. The Viacomunit will debut the Nick Jr. Play, Nickelodeon Play, Comedy Central Play andMTV Play apps, which offer video-on-demand content, later this year. Viacom'sMTV China and MTV Live apps will also be rolled out in 2016 via SingTel's payTV platform.
*BBC Worldwide Ltd. isset to introduce anew subscription video-on-demand service named BBC Player in late 2016,according to an April 27 news release. The platform will be initially availableto customers of Singaporean operator StarHubLtd.'s StarHub TV service. BBC Player users will be able to watchcontent from BBC Earth, BBC First, BBC Lifestyle, , and a newchannel named BBC Brit that is debuting via the platform. Several BBC showswill also be available to download and watch offline for up to 30 days. BBCWorldwide is the commercial arm of the BritishBroadcasting Corp.
*Bharti Airtel Ltd.has asked for theTelecom Regulatory Authority of India's green light on a potential videocontent deal with a U.S. global content provider, The Economic Times (India) reported April 25. Airtel wrote a letterto the regulator about the details of the offer, under which the U.S. companywill provide video content to customers using Airtel's closed electroniccommunication network, which can be accessed without a direct Internetconnection. Airtel is concerned over the possibility that stakeholders mightview the deal to be in violation of net neutrality. The company reportedlyrefused to name the U.S. company to maintain the ongoing transaction'sconfidentiality.
*Chinese regulators have ordereda shutdown of over-the-top service DisneyLife in China, less than half a yearsince its launch, The Hollywood Reporter reportedApril 25. Subscribers of the service have been given refunds. DisneyLife waslaunched in December 2015 by partners Alibaba Group and The announcement wasmade prior to the slated opening of the Shanghai Disney Resort in June.
*South Korea-based CJ Group'scinema unit, CJ CGV, is consideringselling stakes in some of its subsidiaries, including one based in China, tofund its global expansion, Bloomberg News reported April 24. Profits from thestake sales would allow CJ CGV to achieve its target of quadrupling its movietheaters to 10,000 by the end of the decade. The cinema chain aims to becomeone of the biggest cinema movie theater operators, as it is considering IPOlaunches for its units abroad. CJ CGV and a consortium of bidders have recentlyinvested $683 million in Turkey's Mars Entertainment Group, operator ofCinemaximum theaters, allowing the South Korean cinema chain to tap into theTurkish market.
*China's Baidu Inc.has raised about$154.7 million for a new video business affiliate named Baidu Video, Reutersreported April 20, citing a posting on Baidu's microblog. Baidu Video willoperate separately from Baidu, as well as from online video streaming serviceiQIYI andgroup-buying service Nuomi.