Mediaweek Asia: Weekly Roundup

Peter Olszewski round out the week’s media news in the Asian market

Time Out magazine to launch in Bangkok

Time Out Bangkok

London-based Time Out magazine is to be launched under licence in Bangkok through the Maeban Publishing Group publisher of Maeban lifestyle magazine.

The group said it spent 30 million baht (A$1.17 million) for a three-year licence.

Maeban Publishing told theBangkok Post that Time OutBangkok plans to have a 70% Thai readership, with 30% coming from tourists and expatriates working near skytrain and subway stations.

The company projects that 70% of Time Out revenue will come from print edition ads and marketing events, with 30% coming from the online version.

But Time Out will have stiff opposition from well-established Coconuts Bangkok, a hip and irreverent newsy website that marries elements of Vice with Time Out.

The Coconuts brand, which has now spread to seven other regional locations, was founded by former USVariety magazine writer Byron Perry who launched the Bangkok edition after working at the Siem Reap bureau of the Phnom Penh Post.

Hong Kong-based Coconuts commercial director Nicholas Chan spent five years with Time Out Australia.

Aussie interest in Singapore exhibition shows

Victory Hill Exhibitions

Australia has shown strong interest in shows run by Singapore company Victory Hill Exhibitions, according to Malaysia’s Star Media Group’s chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow.

He told Star Media’s AGM on Monday that Victory Hill has the rights to exhibit characters from Marvel and Avengers series.

At the end of last year Star Media’s 64%-owned subsidiary, Singapore-listed event and exhibition service provider Cityneon, bought Victory Hill Exhibitions. Star Media is now expecting Cityneon to contribute significantly to the company’s diversification plans.

iflix to go live in Indonesia in June

Southeast Asia’s internet TV service iflix celebrated its first birthday this week by announcing that it will go live in Indonesia next month.

iflix group COO and iflix Malaysia CEO Azran Osman-Ranitold Bernama that the group had sealed a partnership agreement with Indonesia’s largest telco, Telkom.

He said, “It is part of the group’s effort to increase its subscriber base from more than one million currently, with many of them being smartphone users.”

He added that iflix aims to have a subscriber base of more than 25 million throughout the region.

The company now has a staff of 100 and has expanded from Malaysia into Thailand and the Philippines.

Vietnam telco fined for pay-TV services

Vietnam’s largest mobile network operator, state-owned Viettel Group, has been fined a total of VND171 million (A$10,700) by the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information for licensing non-compliance.

Viettel was fined VND140 million because of its violation in supplying mobile pay-TV services without the necessary licence.

Yonder Music launches in Indonesia

US-based music-streaming service Yonder Music has started up in Indonesia after having debuted in the region in Malaysia last year.

Yonder will partner for an initial two-year period with XL Axiata, one of Indonesia’s largest mobile operators, with one goal being to help eradicate rampant music industry piracy.

Yonder Music CEO Adam Kidron told DealStreetAsia that Yonder has the solution to the “undemocratic” music business in Indonesia, where 4% of the world’s population lives but contributes only 0.4% to the global music industry revenue.

Kidron said, “Yonder targets people who generally cannot afford streaming services. This partnership allows XL users to download Yonder for free when they purchase their internet package.”

Growth strategy for Thailand’s Mushroom Television

Thailand Mushroom Television, 51% owned by SET-listed Post Publishing, aims to drive revenue to 220 million baht (A$8.6 million) this year by providing more local TV content and bringing in international programs for its digital TV channels.

Apart from producing its own content, the company will show first-run international content from Japan and the US to help digital TV operators air unique shows.

Some international cooking and medical TV shows are in talks to air in Thailand. Each international TV program costs 10 million baht.

Mushroom’s majority ownership by Post Publishing creates a media synergy between existing TV content and print media such as the Bangkok Post, Post Today and M2F, a free daily Thai language newspaper, targeting Bangkok’s affluent urban

Q1 revenue falls at Malaysia’s Star Media

Malaysia’s Star Media Group first-quarter revenue declined by 8.6% to RM198.73 million (A$67.3 million) compared with RM217.43 million year-on-year.

The print and digital segment, which is the mainstay of the group, registered a lower revenue of 12.7% due to economic uncertainties and poor consumer sentiment that resulted in overall newspaper advertising expenditure falling by 12.3% in the first quarter.

The radio broadcasting segment recorded a loss before tax of RM360,000, while the television channel segment registered a loss before tax of RM1.98 million.

The group’s event, exhibition, interior and thematic segment saw a 10.3% increase in revenue.

Ad spend: Q1 increase of 24% for Indonesian

Indonesian television and print media ad sales in the first quarter of the year increased by 24%, according to Nielsen Advertising Information Services, following a flat adspend in 2015.

January-March 2016 adspend was Rp 31.5 trillion (A$3.2 billion), up from Rp 25.5 trillion in the same period a year ago. This was the highest quarterly growth rate in the last two years.

TV programs with low ratings, such as news and informational programs, also accounted for significant ad spend.

The Nielsen Television Audience Measurement polls more than 8,000 TV viewers over the age of five years in 11 major cities in Indonesia. Advertising activity is monitored for 15 TV stations, 99 newsletters, and 123 magazines and tabloids.

Aussie founders of Next Bank rebrand as Next Money

Singapore-based global media and events company Next Bank is rebranding to Next Money to reflect its expanded focus on the entire financial sector.

Next Money co-founder and CEO Rob Findlay said, “We started Next Bank four years ago because we had attended other banking conferences and thought the conversation wasn’t nearly progressive enough considering the massive changes happening in and around the industry.

“We wanted to create an inspiring and creative forum to change financial services for the better, and that forum has expanded far beyond just banking.”

Next Money has also acquired the Bank Innovators Council, a membership organisation promoting and supporting innovation in banking. Started in the US in 2013, it has a membership base distributed in 65 countries and will continue to advocate the interests of financial innovators.

Two of the co-founders of Next Money – Rob Findlay and COO Anthony Sexton – are Australian.

Singapore Press only SE Asia INMA winner

Singapore Press Holdings was the only Southeast Asian media outfit to notch up wins at the INMA Global Media Awards in London on Tuesday night.

The Straits Times Innovation Lab won first place for Best New Concept to Incubate Products of Ideas.

The Straits Times also won first place for Best Execution of Print Advertising for “The Interactive Newspapers”. Leveraging technology, an exact digital replica of the newspaper was developed to add interactivity and animation to the ads.

SPH’s news website AsiaOne came third in the category of Best Use of Mobile for its mobile apps for iOS and Android. The website hosts increasingly varied content from partners like BBC, CNBC, Wall Street Journal and Vulcan Post. 

Ad spend: Q1 fall of 8.5% for Thailand

First-quarter financial results reported by listed Thai media and entertainment firms reflect the decline in the Thai ad industry.

Nielsen Thailand reported that overall ad spend dropped by 8.58% to 26.73 billion baht from 29.24 billion baht in the same period last year as a result of spending cuts by major companies.

BEC World, the parent company of Channel 3 analogue TV and two digital TV channels, posted a 20% drop in revenue.

MCOT, a state-owned media enterprise operating Modernine TV, also had a 20% drop in revenue.

Bourse-listed print media companies also suffered.

Amarin Printing and Publishing posted a revenue drop of 7.6%, and revenue at Nation Multimedia Group fell by 12%.

But out-of-home media was on the rise during the first quarter.
Plan B Media, a leading out-of-home media company, posted a 34% revenue increase.

In Brief

•  Media Partners Asia predicts that Southeast Asia, with Thailand at the forefront, will generate annual video streaming subscription revenue of US$200 million (A$277 million) by 2021, up from last year’s estimated US$19 million. This will exclude wholesale revenues and fees received from telecom operators.

•  The Hong Kong High Court ordered Next Media Publishing to pay HK$3 million (A$537,000) in damages to BaWang International for publishing a defamatory article in July 2010 that stated that BaWang’s shampoo could cause cancer. The herbal shampoo manufacturer had been claiming a record HK$630 million in damages.

•  Digital TV Revenue Forecasts reports that Asia-Pacific territory revenues will increase by 25% between 2015 and 2021 to US $40 billion (A$55.4 billion). Asia-Pacific overtook Western Europe in 2014. Digital TV Research claims that  revenues for OTT TV and video in 17 Asia-Pacific countries are expected to reach $18.4 billion in 2021.

The total was $707 million in 2010 and $5.7 billion in 2015.

•  Korean chaebol – family-controlled conglomerates – are rushing to capitalise on K-pop which is steadily gaining global popularity. In January several conglomerate-owned venture capital firms invested US$10 million (A$13.9 million) in crowdsourcing platform My Music Taste, or MMT.

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