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Netflix boosts Asian content; Alibaba secures DreamWorks bundle

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 expanding its Asian content offerings. The streaming giant said Dec. 15 that it secured a content deal with Indian production house Red Chillies Entertainment for exclusive subscription video-on-demand rights to its films, including new movies released in the next three years. It also struck a deal with Singaporean broadcaster MediaCorp Pte. Ltd. to add more than 20 Chinese-language TV shows to its library, Variety reported Dec. 7. Netflix is also in discussions to co-produce Korean content with iHQ, the production unit of South Korean pay TV provider D'Live, Variety reported Dec. 6.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Youku Business Division signed a three-year licensing deal with Oriental DreamWorks to release a bundle of DreamWorks Animation content in China, according to a Dec. 15 press release. The content will be made available on Youku Tudou Inc. video sites Youku and Tudou, as well as the set-top box Tmall Box. The first set of content, including "Kung Fu Panda," "Shrek" and "How to Train Your Dragon," is pegged for release in January 2017.

Content and carriage deals

* The first original series by SVOD service Hooq is slated to premiere in the first quarter of 2017, World Screen reported Dec. 9. The six-part series, "OTJ: The Missing 8," is centered around the massacre of eight journalists in the Philippines. Hooq will make the series available to subscribers in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and India.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. struck a deal with BBC Worldwide Ltd. to bring Amazon.com Inc.'s fashion-themed series "The Collection" to Chinese viewers, Variety reported Dec. 8. Starting in January 2017, the eight-episode period drama will be shown on Tencent's online platform QQ. Tencent also acquired distribution rights for the series in Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China.

* Time Warner Inc. unit HBO Asia started production on its first original comedy-drama series in Singapore, World Screen reported Dec. 8. The 30-minute series, titled "Sent," is slated to premiere in 2017 on HBO Asia's online, on-demand and on-air platforms.

* The Australian Football League tapped Fox Sports and Seven West Media Ltd. to be the broadcasters for the AFLW league that begins in February 2017, The Australian Financial Review reported Dec. 8. AFL will also stream all matches for free on its app and website.

* Malaysian video-streaming service dimsum.my is partnering with local telcos Digi and U Mobile Services Sdn Bhd to enable subscribers to use the app without draining their monthly data quotas, The Star reported Dec. 8.

* BBC Worldwide struck a deal with Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group that will see "Top Gear" aired exclusively in China on the IPTV platform BesTV, Variety reported Dec. 6. The deal will bring 360 hours of the original BBC Two (UK) motoring program to Chinese viewers, including its upcoming 24th season.

Service launches

* StarHub TV, the cable TV operator owned by Singaporean telco StarHub Ltd., is set to launch tvN Movies HD, a high-definition channel dedicated to South Korean blockbusters, the company announced Dec. 15. The channel is scheduled to start airing Jan. 11, 2017, with StarHub TV subscribers also getting on-demand access via StarHub Go.

* Australian pay TV provider Foxtel announced Dec. 14 that its OTT service Foxtel Play is now available on Telstra TV, offering live HD streaming on the device.

* YouTube Inc.'s subscription service YouTube Red is now available in South Korea, iNews 24 reported Dec. 6.

More news

* Australia's Federal Court ruled that more than 60 websites providing pirated content would be blocked, Reuters reported Dec. 15. Internet service providers including Telstra Corp. Ltd., Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd. and TPG Telecom Ltd. will be required to redirect connection attempts to a webpage created by movie studios.

* South Korean mobile group Kakao Corp. will merge its two video-sharing services, Daum tvPot and Kakao TV, Financial News reported Dec. 15. The new service will keep the Kakao TV name and be connected to the company's instant messenger Kakaotalk, allowing users to add content creators as friends.

* China's Ministry of Culture on Dec. 12 issued regulations on live-streaming services that require all performers to register with platforms using their real names. In addition, foreign companies must get ministry approval before live-streaming any content in mainland China.

* YouTube users in India will see more local-language content, The Indian Express reported Dec. 8. The Alphabet Inc.-owned service will automatically identify the user's preferred language through their viewing history, then display more content in that language.