Why is this the right time to launch your OTT service?
Riding on its track record of successfully launching disruptive entertainment solutions such as now TV, Hong Kong’s first IPTV and largest pay-TV service and MOO, Hong Kong’s first OTT music platform. Viu OTT video service is a strategic move to further expand upon PCCW Media’s earlier investment into Vuclip; Vuclip mobile video platform has over 9 million subscribers across 10 countries, and bears testament to PCCW Media’s commitment to continuous innovation to enhance users’ viewing experience.
• At the end of 2015, more than 1 billion people were using smartphones in APAC, reports eMarketer. That number is expected to swell to nearly 1.5 billion by 2019. • Currently, Asia accounts for over 48% of the world’s internet-users, with the majority accessing the web through mobile devices. • Singapore and Hong Kong have one of the highest smartphone penetrations in the world, with 89% of its population owning mobile phones, according to ZenithOptima, a number that’s expected to rise to 97% by 2018.
Fundamentally, PCCW Media has always been at the forefront of launching innovative entertainment solutions for our consumers. The launch of Viu OTT is a strategic move to strengthen PCCW Media’s position as one of Asia’s leading entertainment providers, and bears testament to our commitment to continually strive to enhance our users’ viewing experience.
Viu received a record 1.2 million downloads in Hong Kong within a short span of six months after its launch last October 2015. Why is Viu a good model?
Viu is a model we are very confident about. The keys to our success include among others:
Despite the challenges with the profusion of pirated sites which upload content without having the rights to, hence, illegal, Viu manages to appeal to viewers by offering great features, light speed turnaround time with local language subtitles in as fast as 4-hours after Korean telecast for select latest drama; stable streaming with good video quality; a seamless viewing experience cross device with synchronisation of viewing history. There is every reason for viewers to download Viu OTT as it’s free. It offers on demand, all the content on the go, stream to download, etc.
We have a massive archive of exciting content which is relevant to our audience‘s taste and preference. The content varies and is tailored to local demands.
From a business perspective, Viu offers advertisers the golden opportunity to reach hitherto hard to reach viewers who increasingly spend more time online. This is especially true of millennials. We are confident that the proposition is attractive for advertisers and that we will have a steady stream of revenue from them.
How do you balance the need to satisfy viewer demands against and need to monetise your content?
We use a freemium model so viewers can choose to view freely or opt to upgrade for premium features with subscriptions to the service. We get revenue from advertisers as well as subscriptions which allow us to get high quality content. With the popularity of our platform, Viu is well positioned to get best deals from our content providers as they get income to combat lost revenue from piracy.
Online video advertising has clickthrough rates (CTR) for in-stream video ads at nearly 9X higher than those from display ads and 3X more frequent than mobile ads, according to a DoubleClick report. Recent research says millennials are twice as likely to be focused on video they watch on their mobile devices as they are on video consumed on a TV.
Looking ahead, what are the main challenges and opportunities facing Viu in the next 12 months?
Challenges include combatting piracy and the habitual download of pirated content from illegal sites; censorship issues from some countries and less than ideal broadband infrastructure but all of those we already have effective solutions to overcome. We believe searching and accessing entertainment online and especially on mobile devices will increasingly become the predominant trend especially with the millennials generation.
The opportunities are enormous and we are very bullish about our development. We are confident that we are well-positioned to be a leading player in Asia because:
• Viu can leverage our existing subscriber base of over 9 million subscribers across 12 markets through Vuclip. • Relevant content from our content partners — Our research shows that Korean content travels well and there is unequivocal preference for Korean content across Asia. Take Singapore as an example, over 53% online video viewers prefer to watch Korean content and in markets like Jakarta, it spirals up to 80%.
We have signed a landmark agreement with the top 4 Korean broadcasters (SBS, KBS, MBC and CJ E&M) for distribution of the bulk of their prime times latest drama and variety shows. Viu OTT has exclusive windows and rights to the largest catalogue of Korean content above all other competitors with almost 10,000 hours of which 4000 hours are the latest popular drama and shows. In India, we have over 1 million clips comprising Hollywood and Bollywood content.
• In emerging markets where broadband infrastructure is immature making streaming video content difficult and pricy, Viu OTT’s patented adaptive bit rate technology can effectively overcome this hurdle to ensure stable, quality streaming. • Launched on a freemium basis, we have forged strong alliances with key telcos across Asia. This is especially important in emerging markets where credit card usage and possession are not ubiquitous. • Viu OTT is a global player based in Asia so we do have home ground advantage to understanding the market and navigating through its regulations.
The fact that we can deploy and launch successfully in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and India within six months bears testament to that.