×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Asia TV Forum: Content Localization Essential for Asian Streaming Platforms

High-powered executives from competing streaming video platforms operating in Asia found common ground in the need for content localization.

James Farrell, head of content, Asia-Pacific at Amazon Prime, Janice Lee, MD of PCCW Media Group, Mark Britt, CEO of iflix and Peter Bithos, CEO of HOOQ, were speaking at a panel moderated by former Disney executive Rob Gilby, on the opening day of the Asia TV Forum.

Bithos said that HOOQ currently has 20 local film and TV projects in development. The company did an open call for young talent, received 400 submissions and six pilots were commissioned. PCCW’s Lee said that its Viu platform has 24 local shows in development.

“We went to the creative community when we started and said ‘Go crazy’,” said Britt.

Speaking about the Amazon Prime launch in India, Farrell said: “Where our service was really lacking was in the local premium space. So we went to those content creators.” The result was 18 Amazon Originals commissioned, the first of which, “Inside Edge” launched in July and proved to be an instant success. Similarly, in Japan, Amazon saw a real gap between top comedians and customers and set about filling that gap with Amazon-produced variety shows.

But it isn’t all smooth sailing. While all the 12 Japan Amazon Originals were well-received, Farrell revealed that the documentaries were too expensive a proposition.

“Once you personalize and localize, customer expectations escalate massively,” said Britt.
The mantra is to try everything. The iFlix new programming ranges from boxing matches to K-Pop shows. “Keep learning and keep pushing boundaries,” said Britt.

Bithos said that in some cases writers and directors were stuck in the past, expecting to deliver a two-hour movie with a happy ending at one end, or a low-budget 100-episode series at the other, with nothing in between. “We really had to work on iterations of scripts to make them work,” said Bithos.

While localizing, licensed content continues to be a big part of the programming pie. “Licensed content is a straightforward decision,” says Farrell. “Everybody wants to watch ‘Mission: Impossible’ and Salman Khan movies.”

“There’s a huge amount of content coming out of mainland China, but it requires curation,” said Lee.
There is also a bewildering array of customer data available these days. “The hardest thing about data is predicting future behavior,” says Farrell.

Lee says that the trick to analyzing data is to learn what not to offer rather than the opposite. Meanwhile, “In the larger markets like Indonesia and India, we are still experimenting,” says Lee.

Bithos summed up the scenario best: “We’re trying to learn at a rate of knots.”

More Digital

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Aims to Top $1 Billion in Revenue in 2019, Beats Holiday Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Roku wants to become a billion-dollar company in 2019, and invest more in its ongoing international expansion. The streaming-device maker told investors on Thursday that it expects to generate between $1 billion and $1.025 billion this year, and that international growth was one of its key investment areas for 2019. Roku made these announcements as [...]

  • Vice Media

    Vice Media Taps Joe Simon as Chief Technology Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Joe Simon has been tapped as chief technology officer at Vice Media. The newly created role will include oversight of data analytics, engineering, information technology, media operations, media technology, post production, and systems management. Prior to Vice, Simon spent three years as Encompass Digital Media’s chief operating officer. Previously he held the chief technology officer [...]

  • att_logo

    AT&T Suspends YouTube Ad Spending as Boycott Over 'Pedophilia' Videos Scandal Widens

    AT&T, one month after it thought it was safe to advertise on YouTube again, said it is pulling all advertising spending from the world’s biggest video platform. The telco joins a boycott by marketers alarmed by the discovery that a secret group of child predators has been using YouTube to make sexual comments about kids. [...]

  • VR Pop-Up Opens Doors in Manhattan

    Future of Storytelling Pop-Up VR Arcade Is Coming to Manhattan

    Manhattan is getting a location-based virtual reality (VR) pop-up, courtesy of Future of Storytelling: The temporary Story Arcade will open its doors in the Starrett-Lehigh building this coming Saturday, and host a number of VR experiences, including Felix & Paul Studio’s “Traveling While Black,” Fable’s “Wolves in the Walls” and MWM Immersive’s immersive theater VR [...]

  • Amy Winehouse

    Amy Winehouse Hologram Tour Canceled Over 'Challenges and Sensitivities'

    Amy Winehouse will not be “Back to Black” in a holographic live tour after all. The late British singer, who died in 2011, was to be featured in a stage show slated to launch near the end of 2019. But the producer of the show, BASE Hologram, has indefinitely postponed plans for the Winehouse show, [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez

    Jennifer Lopez Joins TikTok App to Promote NBC's 'World of Dance'

    Jennifer Lopez is the latest celebrity to hop on TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance — more proof of the app’s growing traction, and reflective of media companies’ desire to reach its young-skewing base. Lopez had a very specific aim: to get fans excited about “World of Dance,” the NBC [...]

  • HTC Vive Announces Focus Plus VR

    HTC Vive Announces Focus Plus VR Headset With Dual 6DoF Controllers

    HTC Vive revealed its latest standalone virtual reality headset on Thursday. The Vive Focus Plus upgrades the company’s existing headset by incorporating dual six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) controllers, promising users the same freedom as PC VR devices. Adding the second controller will also make it easier for developers to port existing PC VR content, while making it [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content