Chinese streaming firm iQIYI is making moves to start operating in Australia and New Zealand. IQIYI told Variety that it does not yet have its own corporate entity in Australasia, but confirmed that Gavin Parry, a former VP at Sony Music Asia Pacific, has joined Sun Entertainment Production which will be its local partner in the territory.
Parry told Australian media that the service will have free and paid tiers (priced at A$7.99 or $6.20 per month) and be a niche service that primarily targets Chinese and Asian population. Another executive Greg Tremain, as head of business development, is expected to leverage that specialization to connect with the country’s Asian communities and businesses.
NASDAQ-listed IQIYI has not yet achieved profitability in its home market but has targeted growth in Southeast Asia. It now has a Asia ex-China regional headquarters in Singapore, a slew of local partnerships and the beginnings of a local content production operation.
Australian streaming is dominated by Netflix and local platform Stan, which is part of Nine Entertainment. Consultancy firm, Media Partners Asia recently published data that suggests Netflix has penetrated 60% of Australian households and will finish this year with over 7.5 million subscribers in the country, providing annual revenues of close to $1 billion.
Parts of the production community are lobbying the Australian government to introduce local content quotas on streaming firms. Quotas could set out minimum amounts of Australian content that must be available and marketed on a platform or alternatively minimum levels of spending on Australian content production or acquisitions.
At the intergovernmental level Australian-Chinese political relations are at an all-time low. Areas of contention include Australia’s proposal for a full enquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 virus outbreak, media relations following the arrest of journalist Cheng Lei, and China’s imposition of restriction on Australian exports of grain, iron ore and wine.