Asia Media News: Aussies lose Bangkok Post jobs, iflix, AnyMind acquisition, ESPN

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

Aussie editor decries closure of Bangkok Post’s magazine

The closure of Spectrum – the Bangkok Post’s poplar Sunday magazine – caused an emotional outcry, especially from the drove of foreign reporters who worked for the publication at various stages. The Bangkok Post said it stopped publishing Spectrum “due to a change in news and content policy.” In December 2016 the supplement’s long-time editor, Australian Paul Ruffini , resigned amid a new round of budget cuts, together with other staff. Ruffini was credited with upgrading the supplement when he became editor in 2006 and, according to Asia’s Catholic news service, UCA News, “The result was a Sunday supplement that, based on numerous testimonials, became more popular with many readers than the actual daily newspaper that published it.” Ruffini told UCA News that said he was able to improve the supplement by changing the mindset of editorial staff. He said, “Freed from the hierarchical groupthink of most newsrooms in Thailand, they became more independent and critical.” Ruffini lamented the closure on a Facebook posting, thanking all the staff who worked for him including a slew of Australians.

 

AnyMind Group grows market share in Sydney and Beijing

Singapore-based AdAsia Holdings’ business, AnyMind Group, has bought Acqua Media, a Hong Kong-based publisher trading desk. Acqua Media provides programmatic selling and ad monetisation services for premium web publishers and app developers, and claims to work with over 252 publishers in Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China and Australia, generating about on average 8.3 billion monthly impressions. Ben Chien, who founded Acqua Media in 2013, will join AnyMind Group as general manager of Hong Kong and regional director of publisher engagement for AdAsia in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Taiwan and Australia. AnyMind Group CEO and co-founder, Kosuke Sogo, said the acquisition gives the company an established market share in Hong Kong and Taiwan, along with Beijing and Sydney.

 

Mediacorp and ESPN partnership

Singapore’s Mediacorp and ESPN have signed off on a digital collaboration to take effect on August 20, as part of as part of Mediacorp Partner Network, an initiative that joins Mediacorp together with leading global partners to better serve viewers and advertisers in Singapore. ESPN is the first partner to enlist in the network, and has appointed Mediacorp as the exclusive representative for all advertising sales in Singapore for ESPN.com, and ESPN will launch a dedicated Singapore edition, – espn.com.sg in the coming months. As part of the agreement, Mediacorp will also use ESPN’s sports content in its digital properties which include over 50 media outlets in four languages – English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. ESPN’s Southeast Asian general manager Lance Peatey said, “We look forward to bringing sports fans a dedicated destination with the best in global and local sports coverage and content. It will offer a winning combination to fans and advertisers alike.”

 

Earnings drop predicted for Astro pay TV

AmInvestment Bank has cut its FY19-FY21 earnings forecast for direct broadcast satellite pay TV service Astro Malaysia by 20-29% due to continued pressure on the pay TV industry caused by content piracy, IPTV, illegal TV set-top boxes, and increased competition for Astro’s OTT services. The research house also downgraded Astro shares from buy to hold with a lower fair value.

 

Singapore supermarket chain sponsors kids magazine

Singapore supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice has sponsored the second edition of children’s publication EYEYAH! – the ad-free publication, which teaches children aged eight to 12 about social issues, launched in Singapore through distributor AllScript earlier this year. It is also available in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, UK and Germany. The supermarket sponsored issue will be an illustrated guide to food and beverages covering topics such as the dangers of sugar, food waste, and artificial ingredients. As part of the sponsorship, EYEYAH! has designed limited edition reusable shopping bags which feature artworks by EYEYAH! artists.

 

Media Prima partners with YouTube in Malaysia

Malaysia’s Media Prima has partnered with YouTube’s Player for Publishers service. The collaboration means that Media Prima video material is available on YouTube, including content from its TV networks, radio, The New Straits Times Press and Media Prima Digital. This collaboration follows Media Prima’s acquisition in June of a 52% stake in Vocket Media, which owns Vocket, a Malay-language social news site popular with urban Malay youth.

 

Thailand’s ad spend up thanks to World Cup

Nielsen (Thailand) reports that growth in Thailand’s TV advertising spending in the second half of this year was up compared to the same period last year, and the first quarter this year. Most of the second quarter rise was attributable to the broadcast of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in June. Television accounted for 67% of total spending, led by the continuous growth of digital TV ad spend, up 38% from the same period of last year. Analogue TV showed a 7% decrease YOY.

 

New iflix partnership

Kuala Lumpur-based video streamer iflix has signed a content partnership deal with Toronto-headquartered Wattpad, a platform for readers and writers to publish new user-generated stories in different genres. Over the next year, iflix and Wattpad will co-produce dozens of original movies based on Wattpad stories from Indonesia. The deal gives iflix access to the more than six million original Indonesian story uploads on Wattpad. Using Machine Learning, Wattpad will identify stories and trends to develop as iflix original films, under the brand iflix Originals. Indonesia is a vibrant market for both Wattpad and iflix, with more than nine million users in Indonesia streaming an average of 40 million minutes daily.

 

Asian Games open tomorrow

The 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, which kick off tomorrow through to September 2, will be covered by the official broadcaster, Singapore’s Mediacorp.

The Games will be live-streamed on Mediacorp’s online service Toggle and broadcast free-to-air on oktoSports, the sports belt of okto TV channel. All action and daily highlights will also be available for catch-up on a dedicated microsite on Toggle. Coverage includes seven live feeds on Toggle, comprising six live channels dedicated to the action and a simulcast of oktoSports’ coverage of the Games, delivering the widest coverage of the Asian Games to date.

 

Mediaweek Asia In Brief

• Agence France-Presse (AFP) is looking for “dynamic and motivated” journalists to join its English-language news desk at its Asian headquarters in Hong Kong. The roles are editing positions which can lead to reporting assignments and longer term correspondent postings.
• Southeast Asian streamer iflix has collaborated with beIN Asia Pacific to bring premier European soccer live to iflix subscribers in Cambodia, via the newly launched 24-hour beIN SPORTS 1 and beIN SPORTS 2 channels on iflix, with catch up available for matches. Cambodian subscribers can now catch English Premier League and Spanish LaLiga action.
• Jakarta-based production house MD Pictures, the first movie producer ever to list on the Indonesia Stock Exchange, announced a joint venture with South Korea’s Invictus House and China’s Xing Xing Digital Studio, with a total investment of around US$5 million (A$6.2 million). MD also plans to make a Hollywood debut this year.
• Outdoor Channel (Asia) has partnered with the National Taiwan Museum to help launch the museum’s 110th anniversary special exhibition about elephants later this year. This is the second Outdoor Channel partnership with the museum – the first being in 2016 – with the aim of educating visitors on issues related to illegal poaching and elephant conservation.
• The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) has rebranded to become the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA), hoping to recruit video-on-demand companies and telcos to join the traditional broadcasters which make up most of its membership.
• Thailand’s Nation Multimedia Group has been told by the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) to urgently to submit its financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2017. The company failed to lodge the statements on the due date of February 28, 2018. If the group fails to lodge statement within six months from the original deadline it can be delisted. The six month deadline expires on August 27.
•  South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu and Schibsted Norway’s head of editorial Torry Pedersen will deliver opening keynote addresses at this year’s Digital Media Asia, the region’s largest digital media conference on November 7-9 in Hong Kong.

Top Photo: The signing ceremony, from left seated: Parminder Singh, Mediacorp Chief Commercial & Digital Officer, witnessed by Mediacorp CEO Tham Loke Kheng with ESPN signatory, Lance Peatey, General Manager, Southeast Asia, witnessed by Charles Classen, Vice President and General Manager, EMEA

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