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Asia video spotlight: Amazon gears up for Prime Video launch in India

In this feature,S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related toover-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in differentAsian markets.


* Inc. struckdeals with Bollywood studios as it prepares for the eventual launch of its Prime Videoservice in India. The e-commerce giant inked a licensing deal with Dharma Productions, Variety reported Sept. 26. Itincludes the Indian studio's catalog of films as well as future releases. Amazonalso signed a multiyear content deal withVishesh Films that gives it exclusive digital rights to the Mumbai-basedstudio's library of 53 titles and upcoming films, according to a Sept. 19report by The Economic Times (India).

Content and carriagedeals

*Amazon will produce a Japanese version of U.S. datingreality show "The Bachelor," TheHollywood Reporter reported Sept. 25. The series will be created inpartnership with WarnerBros. Entertainment Inc.'s Warner Bros. International TelevisionProduction, Japanese advertising agency Dentsu Inc. and Japanese talentagency Yoshimoto Kogyo Co.Ltd. "The Bachelor Japan" will start streaming forJapanese subscribers of Amazon Prime Video in April 2017. WarnerBros. Entertainment is a unit of Time Warner Inc.

*Smithsonian Channel, a joint venture between 's  andthe SmithsonianInstitution, has debuted in Asia on StarHub Ltd.'s pay TV service in Singapore. The network,featuring original programming focused on historical, scientific and culturaltopics, is being offered in StarHub's Education Basic HD Upsize package at noadditional cost, the telco said Sept. 23.

*Indian film studio ErosInternational raised about $30 million through a private placement,Television Post reported Sept. 23. The funds will mainly be used for theexpansion of Eros Now,the company's over-the-top platform.

*Netflix Inc. isset to produce itsfirst original Indian comedy special, the Press Trust of Indiareported Sept. 19. It is partnering with Indian comedian Vir Das as part of theNetflix Original Comedy Specials series, with plans to film his stand-upperformance in New Delhi for streaming to the service's subscribers in morethan 100 countries.

* SouthKorean IPTV provider SKBroadband, a unit of SK Telecom Co. Ltd., is debuting its first originalseries, "Oksuri Five Brothers," on its mobile video platform Oksusu,Financial News reported Sept. 17. The show features five popular TVpersonalities and comedians as regular panelists.

*  and Forthnet SA inked a memorandum of understanding forcontent collaboration, Broadband TV News reported Sept. 16. CITVC operates Great Wall TV, the onlyauthorized Chinese TV package for foreign broadcast, composed of 33 channels.

*Australia's NineEntertainment Co. has secured a content deal with 's  to addfive digital series to its video-on-demand platform 9Now, Rapid TV News reportedSept. 16. The millennial-focused, short-form shows — "Jobsworth,""Now Boarding," "Wreck Room," "Pretty Vacant" and"Hope & Randy" — will be made available for streaming aspart of 9Now's Short Not Sweet advertising-supported package.

* NewYork-based VICE MediaInc. signed a distribution deal with DoCoMo Digital, thecloud commerce unit of Japanese telco NTT DoCoMo Inc., that will bring more VICE content toJapan. VICE also expanded its existing content partnership with AbemaTV, according to a Sept. 15 report in The Hollywood Reporter. DoCoMo is asubsidiary of Nippon Telegraph& Telephone Corp., while AbemaTV is the online youth channelof TV Asahi Corp.

* 's sports video streamingunit in Hong Kong, LeSports HK, and the National Basketball Association Inc. announced a broadcastdeal worth more than HK$1 billion, TheStandard reported Sept. 15. The deal allows LeSports tobroadcast NBA games in Hong Kong and Macau for the next five years. 

Service launches

* BBCWorldwide Ltd. has launched BBC Player in Singapore via StarHub's pay TVplatform, Broadband TV News reported Sept. 27. The multigenre SVOD servicefeatures content from BBC Earth, BBC First, BBC Lifestyle, , and a new channelcalled BBC Brit.

* SoutheastAsian subscription video-on-demand service iflix is set to debutin Pakistan, The ExpressTribune reported Sept. 26. Iflix will reportedly offer a freeone-month subscription upon its launch.

* Australianinternet service provider TPG Telecom Ltd. is close to launching asubscription TV service, with an array of  products due to arrivein the coming months, The AustralianFinancial Review reported Sept. 25. TPG is reportedly the last among thecountry's major ISPs to secure a partnership with a pay TV service.

More news

*YouTube Inc. hasmade its offlineplayback feature available in Pakistan, The Express Tribune reported Sept. 24. The feature gives usersaccess to a download button and the option to choose between types of videoquality. It is available for most videos on YouTube's website, withdownloaded content available to view offline for 48 hours. YouTubeis owned by AlphabetInc. unit GoogleInc.

*A Netflix executive denied claims that its Australian subscribers getinferior content compared with American customers, The Australian reported Sept. 21. David Wells, the streaming giant's CFO,said the claims were "absolutely inaccurate."

* SouthKorea's SK Broadband plans to spin off its TV commerce channel B Shoppingas a separate corporation, E Daily reported Sept. 19. Current Korean law bans an IPTV companyfrom distributing a proprietary channel on its own platform, so SK is servicingthe channel on its competitors' platforms.

* India'sReliance CommunicationsLtd. will spin off its direct-to-home service Reliance DigitalTV, Indian Television reported Sept. 17. The move is reportedly in line withRCom's plan to lower its debt-to-EBITDA ratio.