Mediaweek Asia: Mediacorp, TVB, iflix, Tech in Asia, Phibious Indochina, Active Communications

Peter Olszewski rounds up all the latest media news from Asia.

Mediacorp partners with Singapore property portal

Mediacorp has partnered with Singapore’s largest property portal 99.co to create more relevant property-related news and information for property buyers, sellers, agents and developers. The partnership, effective on September 1, is part of Mediacorp Partner Network initiative to better unite customers and advertisers in Singapore. Under the agreement, Mediacorp will be the exclusive representative for all media sales in Singapore for 99.co. Mediacorp will also have the right to represent 99.co in key markets outside Singapore on a non-exclusive basis. For its part under the agreement, 99.co will provide property editorial on Mediacorp’s platforms and will also support client solutions using branded content.

Hong Kong’s TVB finally posts profit

Hong Kong’s main free-to-air broadcaster and oldest TV station, TVB, posted an 18% rise in first-half profit on Wednesday, due mainly to higher ad revenue and healthy income from drama serials co-produced in mainland China. TVB’s net profit for the first six months of this year was HK$201 million (A$35 million), up from HK$170 million in the same period last year. The Chinese revenue was driven by income from drama serials co-produced with Chinese studios, including Deep in the Realm of Conscience, a popular historical drama, and from TVB licensing its own titles in mainland China. Advertising income increased 2% to HK$1.2 billion, comprising 80% of TV revenue.

iflix launches 24-hour live news hub

KL-based Southeast Asian streamer iflix has launched “the first of its kind” 24-hour live news hub, iflix News. The service will aggregate live news streams, clips, and linear feeds from international, regional and local news authorities and will be freely available to all users in iflix’s 28 global markets from September 3. Its regional partners will include CNN, Al Jazeera, DW, CGTN, CCTV 4, and it also has direct access to local linear news channels, including CNN in the Philippines, Bernama News Channel, and KiniTV in Malaysia, Berita Satu and Kompas TV in Indonesia, Thairath TV and Spring News in Thailand and Mizzima TV in Myanmar. iflix co-founder and CEO Mark Britt said: “We have invested significantly in the creation and development of our new 24-hour News Hub including editorial and curation teams and infrastructure, working in close partnership with international, regional and local content providers.”

Tech in Asia downsizes in Singapore and Indonesia

Jakarta-based Tech in Asia – which bills itself as “the largest English-language technology media focusing on Asia” – has laid off a “great number” of employees in its Singapore and Indonesia office, according to Singapore-based tech blog E27. Tech In Asia declined to comment to E27 on the reports, as did venture capital firm East Ventures, which had invested in Tech In Asia. In March last year Tech in Asia confirmed that it had downsized its Indian operations, laying off some staff and cancelling a planned conference.

Chinese news aggregator files for US IPO

Tencent-backed Chinese news and content aggregator Qutoutiao has filed for an initial public offering of up to US$300 million (A$408.2 million) in the US. Qutoutiao – the name means “fun headline” – is backed by Tencent Holdings and aggregates articles and short videos from professional media and freelancers and presents customised feeds curated using artificial intelligence technology to users on its namesake mobile app. The company ranks fourth among the news apps in Apple’s Chinese App Store, after Toutiao, Alibaba’s UC web browser and Tencent News.

Phibious and Active Communications merge

Regional media agency Phibious Indochina and Cambodian firm Active Communications have merged and launched a new business model focusing on digital media. The merged company is to be called Phibious Group and will employ about 50 people.

Mediacorp’s chief marketing officer quits

Debra Soon

Mediacorp’s newly appointed chief marketing officer Debra Soon – who took up the role in June – has quit to take up a “new challenge” outside of the media industry. Media veteran Soon was hired to set up an integrated marketing organisation to bring together most of the company’s marketing and communications staff under the her leadership. During her time at Mediacorp she also served as managing director of Channel NewsAsia.

Thailand’s Nation Multimedia Group finally reports

Thailand’s SET-listed Nation Multimedia Group, publisher of the English-language news portal The Nation among other things, posted a consolidated net loss of 2.16 billion baht (A$90.5 million) last year, partly because of lower advertising revenue and higher expenses, according to rival publication, the Bangkok Post. The net loss was 83% larger y-o-y than the loss of 1.18 billion baht registered in 2016.

Malaysia’s tonton SVOD now a free service

Malaysia’s Media Prima has followed its announcement earlier this month that it partnered with YouTube’s Player for Publishers service, by shortly after announcing that its SVOD service tonton will be switched to a free service on August 31. Media Prima Television Networks said it has changed its business model by consolidating all its online video content using YouTube’s Player for Publishers service, and the group’s managing director Kamal Khalid admitted to The Edge Financial Daily that YouTube could prove be a more efficient delivery channel and replace tonton altogether.

Mediaweek Asia In Brief

• China’s top international property portal, Juwai.com – a partner of Tencent and JD.com – has launched the first annual Juwai Global Chinese Choice Awards to recognise the world’s leading China-focused real estate developers and agents. Nominations are open until October 12 and winners will be announced at a black-tie gala dinner in Shanghai in December.
• Singapore’s Rewind Networks announced at the opening of the 10th annual ContentAsia Summit on Tuesday that it will launch a movie channel that will feature hit films made between 1960 and 1990. Hits Movies HD will be available via Singaporean pay operator StarHub TV’s service on October 1, featuring movies from studios including MGM Studios and Paramount Pictures in high definition.
• StarHub in Singapore has unveiled the StarHub Go Streaming Box, an all-in-one entertainment site combining the best of StarHub’s content catalogue and the Google Play store. StarHub Go Streaming Box claims to be the first in the world to run on the Operator Tier version of Android TV Oreo. The Box supports Ultra HD content (4K), comes with Google Assistant voice search, enabling users to seek out content with a simple voice command to the voice remote. Google Chromecast is also built into the box to allow customers to stream video content to the TV set from their smart devices.

Star Hub, Clarence Khoo

• Malaysia-based streamer iflix has partnered with Bernama – Malaysian National News Agency – and iflix Malaysian users can now access news via a premium-branded Bernama channel for free as part of the just-launched iflix News service.
• Singapore-based VOD service Hooq will add over 20 pay-TV channels to its premium service that will include Discovery, TLC, Hits, tvN, AFC, DreamWorks and History. The channels will be available in October in Indonesia and in other Southeast Asian territories later. Hooq hopes the move will be a disruptive regeneration of pay-TV among millennials. Pay-TV penetration is less than 10% in Indonesia.

 

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