Peter Olszewski rounds up the last fortnight in media news from the Asia market.
Ex-Fairfax Media exec joins New York Times
Tom Armstrong, who suddenly exited Fairfax Media in April after almost four years leading the metro commercial team, has resurfaced as the newly installed vice president of advertising, Asia Pacific for The New York Times. The New York Times also announced that it will open a new Singapore sales office, where Armstrong will be based. The publisher said, “Both announcements build upon The Times’s recent expansion of its advertising and marketing solutions business in Asia, including the June opening of its Tokyo sales office, the expansion of T Brand Studio to Hong Kong in May and the hiring of two programmatic advertising directors in London and Singapore in August.”
Esquire Singapore switches publisher
Singapore-headquartered Indochine Media Ventures took over the licence of Esquire Singapore from Mongoose Publishing on Wednesday this week. Mongoose launched Esquire Singapore in August 2012 and during that time it was the most awarded magazine brand in Singapore, winning a swag of awards including 42 Media Publishers Association of Singapore Awards between 2012 to 2017 in multiple categories. Indochine Media Ventures was founded in 2010 in Singapore and has regional offices in Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. Its luxury publications include the monthly magazine Robb Report and the biannual coffee table-book Luxury Guide.
Hong Kong adspend rebounds
Hong Kong ad-spend saw third quarter 6% YOY growth, according to admanGo, an advertising monitoring service. This follows second quarter growth of also 6%, which was a rebound from zero in the first quarter. Hong Kong media share for the third quarter was TV at 33%, free newspapers 15%, outdoor 14%, paid newspapers 12%, desktop 10%, mobile 8%, magazines 5% and radio 4%. The ad-spend in free-to-air TV has been growing this year, with a 25% third-quarter rise. This increase was boosted by industry newcomers such as ViuTV and Fantastic TV which launched in the second quarter.
Sportsfix names CEO as it readies to launch paid service
Sportsfix – a new OTT subscription streaming service owned by SF Media Holdings, a subsidiary of Total Sports Asia (TSA) – has appointed Carl Kirchhoff as its CEO. Kirchhoff was the co-founder of EverSport, the online streaming company sold earlier this year, and TSA bills itself as “Asia’s global leader in sports content”. Sportsfix launched in Malaysia in July this year as a web-based platform, and Kirchhoff worked as a consultant to help build the platform. His appointment coincides with the launch of Sportsfix’s paid service this month. Sportsfix also plans to launch in Indonesia and Thailand early in 2018, and negotiations are under way. In August, Sportsfix announced funding from the Australian investment group, IPO Wealth.
Saigoneer site gets new investment
Vietnam-based, English-language news and lifestyle platform Saigoneer’s latest seed-funding round raised investment funds from early-stage venture capital firm 500 Startups and FPT Ventures-backed VIISA accelerator. Investment amounts were not disclosed, but funds will be used to expand in Vietnam to Hanoi and to other Southeast Asian cities, to provide multiple language options, and to provide more in-depth content. The plan is to create a regional content network, focusing on serving hyperlocal digital content in Southeast Asia.
Shark Tank launches in Vietnam
The Vietnamese version of Shark Tank, a reality television program for startups, launches nationally on November 4 on VTV3 Vietnam Television and will be aired every Saturday until February 17 next year. Startups will show their projects to a board of investors composed of leaders from several big companies operating in Vietnam. Startups will try to convince the investors to offer them funds. Vietnam is the 41st country to import the reality show format, which started in Japan in 2001.
SPH finance and tech launch
ShareInvestor, a finance-focused media and technology subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings, this week launched its new portal, Investor-One, in conjunction with the tenth anniversary of the SGX’s creation of the Catalist board. Among the site’s many features, its editorial will run exclusive Investor-One interviews, aggregated material from SPH publications and platforms, and market updates.
It will also give a countdown for companies going for IPO listing, and also lists recent IPOs and their market performance.
Mediaweek Asia In Brief
• The Cambodia Daily, which recently shut down due to an A$7 million-plus tax bill, has relaunched as “a digital-only, non-commercial publication based off shore”.
• Beijing-based e-retailer JD.com has launched a dedicated online channel for Chinese real estate businesses, about two months after Alibaba – which owns the South China Morning Post – entered the online housing market.
• AXN’s Asia’s Got Talent season 2 premiere topped ratings on all regional pay-TV channels in Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.
• Philippines’ ABS-CBN has secured a volume deal with Chinese-owned-and-headquartered African broadcaster StarTimes to air a number of its top-rating dramas throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
• Astro grabbed the Digital Transformer in Malaysia award at the International Data Corporation’s inaugural Digital Transformation Awards, which recognise outstanding organisations that make critical breakthroughs in digital transformation in the Asia Pacific region. Astro’s group CEO Dato Rohana Rozhan said, “Today, Astro operates over 40 digital brands across websites and apps, reaching almost 7 million unique visitors per month.”
• After 20 years in operation, Singapore Press Holdings news and lifestyle aggregator AsiaOne is tipped to shut down, possibly this month, according to Yahoo News Singapore.
• Sony Pictures Television-owned AXN hit series Asia’s Got Talent season 2 has partnered regionally with cloud platform GoDaddy to build sponsorships in Asian markets. The partnership will also feature popular acts from the series in GoDaddy’s digital campaign, “Bring your talent online.”
• Japanese public broadcaster NHK told delegates at MIPCOM that it promises to deliver the world’s first 8K channel in December 2018. Meanwhile, three South Korean broadcasters – Korean Broadcasting System, Seoul Broadcasting System and Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation – have launched a terrestrial broadcast network to enable 4K/UHD transmission.
• Viacom is launching a new Nickelodeon linear channel via OTT and mobile platforms in Japan due to the success of MTV-branded OTT channels in the country.
• Fox Networks Group has launched its new content marketing production business, Fox Content Labs, with central production studios in Hong Kong and Singapore.