Mediaweek Asia: Weekly Roundup

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

New editor for SPH’s evening Chinese newspaper

Singapore Press Holdings’ evening Chinese newspaper, the Shin Min Daily News, will have a new editor from February 25 with current editor Pan Cheng Lui retiring after 37 years working for the company.

He took on the editorship of Shin Min in 2011 and will be succeeded by the paper’s associate editor, Choo Chee Wee, who has been with SPH since 1990.

Philippines’ RTL CBS in the climbs up the rankings

Philippines broadcaster RTL CBS climbed to number three in the country’s general entertainment on cable TV rankings, according to December ratings data released by Nielsen.

The channel started 2016 in eighth position but was able to increase its numbers particularly in the women’s and housewives segments.

It also had a healthy uptick in viewership in the 13- to 19-year-old market.

RTL CBS Entertainment was launched in October 2013, and has now overtaken the lead of well-established long-term channels including Warner, StarWorld, Universal, E! and Jack TV.

Major Thai publisher to kill print mags

Thailand magazine publisher Maeban Publishing will cease producing print versions of its magazines, transitioning them all to online only.

The company has already digitised two of its major selling magazines – flagship women’s and cuisine mag , and fashion magazine Nylon.

Nylon now has a weekly reach of over 2.4 million, and Maeban.com is now a “food community” that has more than 50,000 online visitors a day.

This year the company will also concentrate on developing content, especially video, for Time Out Bangkok.

Sony Pictures’ AXN channel dominates general entertainment in SE Asia

Sony Pictures Television pay-TV, cable and satellite channel AXN dominated 2016 ratings among English general entertainment channels in Southeast Asia, keeping its lead as the top channel in Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines.

It secured a 26% share during full-day programming, and a 28% share during primetime among 22 English GE channels in the three markets, boosted in part by the top-rated The Amazing Race Asia season 5.

Shareholders up stakes in HK broadcaster TVB

Major shareholders are increasing their stakes in Hong Kong broadcaster, TVB.

This follows the company’s plan to buy back up to 138 million of its shares for HK$4.21 billion (A$687m) to possibly raise the stake held by the biggest group of shareholders to more than 40%.

This would trigger a mandatory general offer for all the shares they do not own.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch is acting as TVB’s financial adviser.

The deal needs to be approved by shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting.

In December the free-to-air TV licence holder said its full-year 2016 profit is tipped to plunge by up to 65% YOY due to the high cost of Rio Olympic Games coverage and weak advertising revenues.

In January the company surrendered its pay-TV licence, after incurring a HK$2.2b loss. Its expansion is now focused on its OTT service, myTV SUPER.

Thai public broadcaster to boost ratings with docos

The Thai Public Broadcasting Service will telecast the top-rated BBC documentary Planet Earth 2 in primetime slots to boost viewer numbers and differentiate itself from commercial television.

Thai PBS director-general Krissada Raungarreerat said bringing the seven-episode Planet Earth 2 to a Thai audience is a first in Asia.

Thai PBS has also secured the right to broadcast a documentary about British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. This will be likely be aired in a primetime slot as well.

Chinese HD channels to broadcast internationally

China Central Television (CCTV) has signed a distribution deal with Eutelsat Communications to broadcast three of its flagship channels in HD in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The three free-to-air channels are CCTV-4 HD, CGTN HD (formerly CCTV News) and CGTN-Documentary HD (formerly CCTV Documentary).

CGTN, or Global Television Network, is a new Chinese international media organisation launched by CCTV in December 2016.

Thai digital TV ad spend tipped to surge

Thai digital TV ad spend will surge by 50% to 30 billion baht (A$1.1b) this year due to stronger programming and strong positioning from top five channels, according to marketing and media company Mindshare Thailand.

Digital TV will account for 25% of total media consumption, up from 10% in 2014, noted the Mindshare Thailand report.

Nielsen Co Thailand reported that the five top rating digital TV channels are BBTV’s Channel 7, BEC World’s Channel 3, RS’s Channel 8, Mono 29 and Workpoint TV.

According to the Mindshare report, ad spend will reach almost 128b baht this year, up from 107.9b last year, of which 62.6% went to analogue and digital TV.

Mediaweek Asia In Brief

• Internet TV service provider for emerging markets, iflix, has been named the 2016 Asia Pacific Video on Demand Company of the Year by research and growth consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
• Fox Networks Group Asia launched its 2017 media and content partnership with French multinational hotel group AccorHotels at the Australian Open tennis tournament last week. Fox Sports was able to exclusively interview the Williams sisters with an Accor property, the Sofitel Melbourne On Collins Hotel, as the backdrop.
• BrightSky Media in Thailand has partnered with Plan B Media to spend 100 million baht (A$3.8m) installing 102 large digital screens at Don Mueang airport. BrightSky also plans to set up at airports in Myanmar and Vietnam by year-end, while Plan B is expanding to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
• CNN Philippines on January 30 launched a news program, Newsroom in Filipino, anchored by senior correspondent Ruth Cabal, that was the first to be broadcast in the Filipino language on the channel. Cabal, a journalist with 17 years’ experience, joined CNN Philippines in September 2016.
• The Thai National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission this week began distributing a new lot of 3.98 million digital TV subsidy coupons. Each coupon is worth 690 baht (A$26) and can be used to redeem digital TV set-top boxes or get a discount to buy hybrid set-top boxes or TVs that can receive digital TV. This is being done to facilitate the Thailand’s digital TV transition.
• Kavi Chongkittavorn, formerly managing editor of The Nation in Bangkok, is the new executive director and editor-in-chief of the formerly Australian co-owned Myanmar Times following the exit of 
Malaysian Bill Tegjue, who quit this week.
• Thai pay-TV operator TrueVisions is seeking permission from the telecom regulator to cancel 11 more channels after it stopped airing six channels last month, mainly HBO movie channels. A subscriber group is planning to jointly sue TrueVisions, seeking compensation for unfair treatment in the cancellation of HBO channels.
• South Korea’s LG Electronics, is seeking to partner with several Hollywood studios to boost content for its 3D televisions and the company is in discussions with Paramount, Fox, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers.

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