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Viu Adds Mediacorp, GMM Grammy Deals to Increase Asian Content Focus

Multi-territory Asian streamer Viu has struck a new content supply with Singapore’s MediaCorp, and extended its existing three-year-old arrangement with Thailand’s GMM Grammy.

Viu enjoyed initial success with carriage of Korean content to a hungry Asian region. It is now diversifying its focus to include more Chinese-language and Thai shows.

The GMM Grammy agreement allows Viu to offer near real-time simulcast of One31 Channel’s content in Thailand, giving Thai viewers more choice about when and how they may watch their favorite shows. The same One31 Channel content will be made available in Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Singapore, with local language and English subtitles within hours of the initial broadcast in Thailand.

The deal also makes available 290 hours of shows under the GMM25 label in Malaysia and Indonesia. Viu Premium users can download the content.

Top current shows include One31 Channel’s “Crowns of Grass” (March, 2020), “The Passbook” (March, 2020), and “The Venom’s Tale” (February 2020) and GMM25’s “The Mistress,” “Love Revenge,” and “Club Friday the Series 11.”

Singapore state broadcaster, Mediacorp is making available 600 hours of content to Viu users in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The selection spans scripted and factual titles, from recent Chinese rom-coms like “My One In A Million” (2019) and dystopian drama “A World of Difference” (2019); romantic family-friendly titles “Happy Prince” (2020) and “Heart to Heart” (2018); psychodramas “Doppelganger” (2018) and “The Driver” (2020); police procedural series “C.L.I.F.” (2014 – 2016), to “All Around You” (2020), a youth-centric drama featuring the finalists of “Star Search 2019.”

English-language programs include drama “Faculty” (2017), seasons one and two of tech-driven thriller “Zero Calling” (2014 – 2015), and “Food Heroes” (2016), Channel News Asia’s showcase of gastronomic gurus. Content will include English, Bahasa Melayu, Traditional Chinese and Thai subtitles on an as-available basis.

Backed by Hong Kong’s PCCW Media Group, Viu is available in 16 markets in East Asia, the Middle East and South Africa, with 41 million monthly average users. It operates with both an ad-supported tier and a premium subscription tier, and produces some of its own original shows.

“We’d love to think that Thai creativity could help cheer up people in our region as we go through these difficult times,” Viu’s chief business officer, Asia, Helen Sou, told Variety. “We really believe that after the ‘Korean Wave,’ that now is time for a Thai wave.”

She says that as the platform is diversifying, it is giving wider meaning to the concept of Asian content. Viu maintains significantly localized operations with offices in each territory. Each office is multidisciplinary, covering marketing, advertising and content, both for acquisition and local production.

“We were slow to get into original production, but we wanted to get to know audiences first. Now Viu Originals have ambitious targets,” she says.

Sou argues that the local office strategy enables the platform to get closer to consumers in the region than some of the global streaming operators. The results can be seen through good user growth, and through daily traffic patterns that are different to other streaming services.

User engagement has grown further still, as more people stay at home under coronavirus prevention measures. Sou said is up 30% in Hong Kong, and up 20% in Singapore since the beginning of the virus outbreak.

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