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Baidu's iQiyi files for US IPO; Alibaba to stream Disney content in China

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

* Baidu Inc. confirmed plans for a U.S. listing of its streaming service iQiyi. The Chinese company has submitted a draft registration statement to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for a proposed listing of iQiyi's American depositary shares representing its ordinary shares on a major stock exchange in the U.S. The proposed number of ADSs that will be offered and sold has not been determined. Baidu expects to remain a controlling shareholder of iQiyi once the proposed IPO has been completed.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group secured rights to selected content from Walt Disney Co. following a licensing agreement with Disney unit Buena Vista International Inc. The multiyear deal allows Alibaba Digital to release Disney content on its online streaming platform Youku, as well as on selected over-the-top platforms via Smart TV and Alibaba's set-top boxes. The agreement covers more than 1,000 episodes of Disney animated series, of which 600 episodes will be available exclusively on Alibaba-owned platforms for the first two years. More than 100 live-action and animated movies are also included in the deal.

Content and carriage deals

* STAR India Pvt. Ltd. said Feb. 12 that its streaming platform Hotstar partnered with Bharti Airtel Ltd. to offer Airtel customers Hotstar content, which includes more than 350 live TV channels and about 10,000 films and shows through the Airtel TV app.

* ACT Fibernet, in partnership with South Asian content provider YuppTV Inc., will provide more than 140 free-to-air channels through its mobile app, Television Post reported Feb. 8.

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video greenlighted "Skulls and Roses," a new unscripted reality series from India, Variety reported Feb. 7.

* 21st Century Fox Inc.'s Fox Sports Asia inked a one-year exclusive multimedia and broadcast rights agreement for the second season of mixed martial arts tournament Super Fight League, Indian Television reported Feb. 6. The deal with Fox will see the tournament being broadcast in Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

* Iflix said Feb. 6 that it will distribute online video content from Canada's QYOU Media Inc. to 25 markets. The distribution agreement between the two companies includes QYOU's provision of exclusive locally hosted formats on iflix's streaming service in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. The Malaysian streaming service also established a joint venture with Football Malaysia LLP to broadcast Malaysian soccer tournaments, The Nation reported Feb. 2. Iflix customers will be able to live stream soccer matches for free regardless of their subscription status.

* Singapore's MediaCorp Pte. Ltd. sold the digital rights for its three dramas to Chinese streaming platform Youku. "Patisserie Fighting," "The Dream Makers 2" and "When Duty Calls" are slated to become available in China via Youku in the second quarter, APB News reported Feb. 6.

* Netflix Inc. secured streaming rights to Discovery Communications India's original animated series "Little Singham," Press Trust of India reported Feb. 5.

Service launches

* CJ E&M's over-the-top service TVING will revamp its platform to provide more support to content startups, Yonhap News Agency reported Feb. 6. The company will also allow creators to take up to 90% of the ad sales to attract various content creators and provide a content curation service.

* Telkom Indonesia partnered with Catchplay, a Taiwanese multimedia company, to launch a streaming service, Tempo reported Feb. 5. The new offering will be available for Telkom's home entertainment subscribers.

* Naver Corp.'s kid content platform Junior Naver launched its revamped Pororo TV service, with expanded original content and 1,400 new video clips, Digital Times reported Feb. 2.

Other news

* Relevant authorities in China's Beijing and Guangdong province launched an investigation against video streaming platforms, including Youku, iQiyi, Haokan and Tencent Video for allegedly spreading violence and thrilling content, Sina reported Feb. 13. The government said it will take severe actions against indecent content in the next two months.

* Guangzhou Acfun Network Technology Co. Ltd.'s video streaming site AcFun resumed operations after a temporary suspension reportedly due to financial difficulties, Tencent News reported Feb. 12.

* IQiyi took down more than 40,000 video clips which used cartoon characters to spread violence or pornography, Sina reported Feb. 12. The social platform said it also shut down relevant accounts and has updated its content screening procedure, including adding more sensitive words to the list of search prohibition, with each video to be reviewed twice before being posted.

* SoftBank Group Corp. on Feb. 8 announced it will cease operating the smartphone sports streaming service Sports Navi Live in May. The Japanese conglomerate will hand over operations of Sports Navi Live to DAZN, a sports streaming service owned by Perform Group.