Peter Olszewski rounds up the last fortnight in media news from the Asia market.
Aussie-listed Frontier Digital buys in African
ASX-listed and Kuala Lumpur-based Frontier Digital Ventures has acquired three online property classified sites from Africa’s Jumia, a major online classifieds group in Africa.
The sites are competitors to Frontier’s investments in the same markets, and the deal means that Frontier now owns Jumia House Ghana, Jumia House Nigeria and Jumia House Angola.
Frontier acquired the three sites from Africa’s Jumia in exchange for Afribaba, a general classifieds site that it acquired in September 2015. Frontier CEO and founder Shaun Di Gregorio (pictured top), a former executive with the REA Group in Australia, said the effect of the acquisitions was that, “Our businesses are now in a significantly improved position to commence rapid monetisation.”
Two new radio stations for SPH
Singapore Press Holdings last Friday introduced two new radio stations – Money FM 89.3 and 96.3 Hao FM – after being awarded the tender to operate the radio stations by the Infocomm Media Development Authority in March.
Money FM, slated to launch on January 29, 2018, is billed as “Singapore’s first and only business and personal finance radio station in English”. The station is targeted at the general listener who takes an interest in everyday personal finance matters.
Hao FM, targeted to launch on January 8 next year, aims to be an all-in infotainment station where listeners can tune in classic mandarin hit pop tunes from the 80s and 90s and catch up on topics such as lifestyle, healthcare and finance/wealth planning.
Photo: Money FM 89.3 team [L-R]: Desmond Wong, Ryan Huang, Yasmin Jonkers, Loretta Lopez, Nadirah Zaidi, Claressa Monteiro and Elliott Danker
ASX-listed iCar Asia secures more funding
iCar Asia Ltd, owner of ASEAN’s #1 network of automotive portals, has secured access to A$25.5 million additional funding, which brings its working capital to $41 million and is expected to be enough to take the company to profitability in about two years. The new funds will mostly be channelled into driving innovation and technology, accelerating marketing, and revving up business development. iCar Asia owns seven automotive portals three countries – Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia – and operates in the world’s fifth largest automotive market serving a population of more than 600 million.
Vice to open new media HQ in Singapore
Vice Media will open its new Asian headquarters in Singapore in January 2018, with its global general manager Hosi Simon (pictured) relocating to Singapore as APAC CEO. Vice will also increase its Indian presence, opening offices in Mumbai and Delhi. To further its drive into the region, it will also expand its SVOD service Vice+ – which it operates in partnership with Japan-based telco Docomo – into India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand, with more country launches planned.
Fox Networks launches Fox+ OTT
Fox Networks Group Asia has launched its video streaming OTT platform Fox+ in Hong Kong, as a stand alone app and on the Now TV pay-TV platform. Fox+, already available in Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore, faces a highly competitive market in Hong Kong, with both international and local television channels vying for a share of the market with a population of seven million.
Outdoor Channel to be integrated into A+E channels
Outdoor Channel (Asia) will be integrated into A+E Networks’ suite of channels following a new partnership deal. The multiyear partnership includes the appointment of A+E as the exclusive agent for advertising and sponsorship sales as well as digital short-form content creation. A+E will also represent the distribution sales for Outdoor Channel in selected cases.
BBC Brit debuts in South Korea on OTT
BBC Worldwide’s factual entertainment channel BBC Brit has made its debut in South Korea, after a deal was signed with South Korea’s largest pay-TV company, CJ Hellovision.
BBC Brit will be broadcast on CJ Hellovision’s new OTT service, Viewing in Korea. The deal gives Viewing in Korea box owners access to over 100 hours of BBC Brit programming. Programs available at the soft launch include Fishing Impossible, Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week (series two) and Million Dollar Car Hunters. BBC Worldwide had earlier partnered with CJ Hellovision to bring BBC Earth and BBC World News in South Korea. It also partnered with CJ Hellovision’s sister company, CJ E&M, to develop Top Gear Korea.
Inmagine Group acquires two US media outfits
Malaysia-based and Hong Hong-registered digital stock media firm Inmagine Group has purchased two US media outfits – filmmaker academy and video licensing platform Story & Heart, and Vectr, an online vector graphics editor. The purchase of both businesses was made through Inmagine’s royalty-free digital stock image arm 123RF, which Inmagine plans to make into a public company this year. It had targeted an ASX listing, valued at about $250 million, but is now apparently looking at other stock exchanges.
New online newsagency launches in Myanmar
Yangon’s Myanmar-language online news agency AKonThi has officially launched after running trials for seven months. AKonThi’s editor-in-chief Kyaw Myo Min told DealStreetAsia that the news portal had 4.168 million views over the trial period, and in later months of the trial it notched up about one million monthly views. AKonThi employs 10 writers and four video journalists, publishing up to 50 articles daily.
mm2 Asia to buy Cathay Cineplexes’ Singapore cinemas
Singaporean entertainment company mm2 Asia has entered into an option agreement to acquire all Cathay Cineplexes’ Singapore cinemas for S$230 million (A$220m), with deal completion set for November 24. The deal comes after Hong Kong’s Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment blocked mm2’s bid to take a 50% stake in Singapore’s Golden Village cinemas, half owned by Village Cinemas Australia.
Alibaba reports Q2 revenue surge
Alibaba Group reported a 61% revenue surge in its second quarter ending September 30, 3017. During the period, revenue from digital media and entertainment was up 33% YOY to RMB4.80 billion (A$942m). This figure represents ad and subscription revenue from China’s biggest video site Youku Tudou, and mobile internet services revenue from UCWeb.
Mediaweek Asia In Brief
• Video streamer iflix has now launched in Bangladesh, where it has also entered into an exclusive partnership with Robi Axiata, Bangladesh’s second-largest mobile network operator. iflix is now available in 24 countries. iflix subscribers in Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia can now stream and binge on the historic first six instalments of the global phenomenon and epic space opera, Star Wars.
• Thai real estate developer Sansiri will invest US$6 million to buy a 13% stake in UK-based media outfit Monocle, which has a small presence in Asia, mainly in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. Sansiri is also proposing a collaboration to develop The Monocle Residence, a mixed-use luxury residential project in Bangkok next year.
• Mediacorp has announced a fresh program lineup for 2018 for its Okto channel which by day is a kids channel and after 9pm becomes oktoSports, with premium sports programming. Twelve new titles – five info-tainment, four drama and three short series – have been given the green light, providing more than 60 hours of original local children’s content.
• An IPO for China Literature, Tencent Holdings’ online publishing arm, soared 64% in early trading in Hong Kong on Wednesday, November 8, and raised US$1.1b, in what has been hailed as Hong Kong’s hottest IPO in almost a decade. China Literature co-CEO Wu Wenhui said the company wants to become China’s version of Marvel.
• Australian-helmed Malaysia-based Frontier Digital Ventures will exit its investment in Democratic Republic of Congo online property portal IMCongo.
• Singapore Press Holdings’ financial daily The Business Times will distribute the paper’s weekend magazine on Fridays instead of Saturdays, starting next year.
• The Wall Street Journal’s marketing division WSJ Custom Studios and UBS Bank have partnered on a global content campaign, titled Fast and Forward: China Shifting Gears, that addresses China’s economic transformation and identifies new investment opportunities. The campaign is supported by further material on Mashable.com and runs until March 2018.
• The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union has appointed Ryoichi Ueda, president of NHK in Japan, to the post of ABU vice-president.