Asia Media News: Discovery, Celebrity Car Wars, HOOQ, Tikin Media, Tencent

Mediaweek’s Peter Olszewski rounds up the latest media news from the Asian market.

Discovery appoints new Southeast Asia general manager

Anna Pak Burdin

Following the merger of Discovery with Scripps Networks Interactive in early March, Discovery has now appointed Anna Pak Burdin as its Southeast Asian general manager. Pak Burdin will be based in Singapore, reporting to JB Perrette, president and CEO of Discovery Networks International. Her job will be to increase Discovery’s presence in the region and to expand the company products, with a particular focus on digital properties to capitalise on Southeast Asia’s ever growing numbers of digitally savvy consumers. Pak Burdin is a Discovery veteran, having held several senior roles including running the company in Eastern Europe, taking in Russia, the Baltics, Ukraine, and Central Asia. Most recently she was with the National Media Group, the largest media company in Russia and a partner of Discovery, where she was managed pay-TV distribution. Previously, she had executive roles at Eurosport, KidsCo TV, and EuroNews. At Discovery, she replaces Shavkat Berdiev, who held the role since 2016.

Civil Media and Splice to launch Asian media startup fund

New York-headquartered Civil Media, a blockchain-based journalism organisation soon to launch its own CTV crypto-tokens, will jointly launch a US$1 million dollar fund for 100 Asian media startups over the next three years with Singapore-based The Splice Newsroom. Splice will manage the fund and Splice co-founder and CEO Alan Soon told TechCrunch that it is still to be figured out if financing will be by grants or equity-based investments. He told TechCrunch that deals will be “pre-seed, micro-investments to help entrepreneurs take their ideas to prototype stage.”

New series of Celebrity Car Wars to be launched in Asia in September

A+E Networks Asia will launch the new season of HISTORY Asia’s original production and award-winning automotive reality series Celebrity Car Wars in September, sponsored by Caltex. This will be the show’s third series and production and filming were recently completed in the Philippines. Among the six regional celebrities who will compete in the new series are Australian actor, singer, and model Matthew Deane and his wife and competitor Lydia Sarunrat, a Thai R&B idol and actress. US actor Bobby Tonelli hosts the new series, and guest mentors, professional race drivers Gaby dela Merced and Michele Bumgarner, are back in the new series.

Leading Thailand healthcare group signs new ad deal with CNN

Thailand’s largest private healthcare group, Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS), has partnered with CNN International Commercial for the fourth consecutive year. The healthcare group has extended the partnership for 2018/19 to include sponsorship of a new show, Live Longer, hosted by CNN’s Emmy award-winning chief medical correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta. Live Longer launched on July 28 with a 30-minute episode, which will be followed by eight monthly segments. The show will conclude with a final 30-minute episode in February 2019. The healthcare group’s partnership with CNN also continues its sponsorship of flagship news program Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN International’s Asia feed.

Streaming service HOOQ’s new appointments to boost local content

South-East Asian OTT video streaming service HOOQ has appointed Bryan Seah as its head of original productions, and Tina Arwin as its head of content, Indonesia. Seah will be based at HOOQ headquarters in Singapore, and Arwin will work in the Jakarta office. Before HOOQ, Seah was head of original content at Discovery Network, overseeing original branded content for companies including Nestlé, Audi and Samsung. He has also produced programs for Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, NHK and TLC. Tina Arwin was previously head of content and programming at Viu Indonesia and has also worked for MTV Indonesia, Fremantlemedia, Astro Indonesia and Vivasky. HOOQ chief content officer Jennifer Batty said the hirings were part of HOOQ’s local content expansion, including original productions with the inaugural run of HOOQ Filmmakers Guild.

SPH and Times Publishing to launch digital magazine redemption cards

Singapore Press Holdings Magazines and Times Publishing have launched the sale of digital magazine redemption cards at all Times bookstores. The cards allow users to redeem digital magazines of either a single issue or a three-month subscription with 15 SPH magazine titles, including Men’s Health, The Singapore Women’s Weekly, and Home & Décor. To redeem, readers go online and activate the account using a code found on the card. This initiative follows the announcement in early March of the partnership between Times Publishing Ltd and SPH Magazines to digitise and distribute titles electronically. Times Publishing Group is a premier Asian media group, owned by Fraser and Neave. The group integrates several leading brands including Marshall Cavendish, Times Printers, Pansing, Times bookstores and GoGuru.

Beijing elevator ad company with 80% market share raises more funding

Beijing-based elevator advertising company Tikin Media, which is now operating outside China, has raised a RMB120 million (A$17.6 million) Series A+ round led by Sequoia Capital China, and joined by IDG Capital and Baidu Ventures. Tikin Media started up in 2017 and provides ad services in elevators in office buildings. The advertising displays are placed on elevators, and play automatically when elevator doors open. Tikin Media founder and CEO Ren Bin says the company has gained an 80% market share in the Chinese elevator advertising industry by providing a less costly alternative to advertising firms. Tikin has placed advertisements in more than 25,000 elevators in cities in China as well as major cities outside China – the company began marketing outside China earlier this year. China’s outdoor advertising market was worth RMB117.4 billion (A$23 billion) in 2016 and is forecast to post RMB144.4 billion for 2017.

Tencent clear leader in China’s subscription OTT video market

Tencent Video is the leader in China’s subscription OTT video market and will continue to outperform rivals iQiyi and Youku in coming years, according to eMarketer, which predicts that 24.0% of China’s digital video viewers will subscribe to Tencent Video in 2018, and surpass 29% by 2020. Content investment has been a key element for the so-called BAT companies – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. Alibaba’s Youku has led in content spending so far this year and picked up the rights to the FIFA World Cup. eMarketer predicts that this will boost Youku’s subscriber base by 55.0% this year, and by the end of next year Youku will overtake iQiyi in second place for digital viewer share. Almost 229 million Chinese people in China will watch video via a subscription streaming service this year and by 2022, more than a quarter of the population will use an OTT service.

Mediaweek Asia: In Brief

• CNN Digital is seeking a news enthusiast with a fascination for Asia and beyond to join the digital team in Hong Kong. The successful candidate must have a deep understanding of what makes a good digital news story that can engage audiences on different platforms in different parts of the world, and needs to deliver breaking news with speed and accuracy.

• Tokenised social engagement platform JET8, which has offices in Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, South Africa, and Spain, has appointed Marthin Romero as director of growth and development in Indonesia. Before joining JET8, Romero was sales and corporate marketing director for Masima Radio Network, overseeing marketing for 18 radio stations in nine Indonesian cities.

Marthin Romero

• Southeast Asian-based video streamer iflix has joined forces with two Indonesian agencies to promote and showcase young Indonesian artists in music and entertainment. The new initiative will consist of five film projects to be jointly developed and produced by iflix, the Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy, and the Indonesian Film Board.

• A recent study – PayPal’s Global Freelancer Survey – showed that 58% of freelancers surveyed in four Southeast Asian markets have at times not been paid for their work and services. Paypal conducted an online survey of 1,602 freelancers from Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines.

• Singapore Press Holdings will streamline its digital advertising sales with Lineup’s Adpoint, a cloud-based media sales solution that doesn’t require a complex IT infrastructure to deploy and maintain. Ad booking for SPH digital media channels will also directly interface with Google’s DFP Adserver for instant inventory availability checking, product management, reservations and campaign revisions.

• Outdoor Channel (Asia) has today announced its launch on CAST, Singtel’s OTT app that “combines the flexibility of live TV and video streaming apps with on-demand entertainment”. Outdoor Channel (Asia) is owned and operated by Multi Channels Asia, and is available in more than 10 million households in Asia and more than 45 million households globally.

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