Starz is to expand its international reach with the launch of premium OTT platform Lionsgate Play in Indonesia. The move will mean Starz’ footprint expands to 55 countries and territories, and its addressable population expands by 260 million.
Guntur Siboro has been hired as GM and Gene Tamesis as VP of business development and partnerships. They will lead the operations and report to Rohit Jain, MD South Asia and networks – emerging markets Asia at Lionsgate.
Both are former employees of the now defunct Asia regional OTT player Hooq Digital, that was owned by Singtel, Warnermedia and Sony, and which collapsed in April last year. Siboro was the Hooq’s country head in Indonesia. Tamesis was deputy country manager.
The pair are reported to be looking for office space. Details of the service’s launch timing, pricing and local telco or other carriage partnerships were not disclosed.
“Indonesia is one of the fastest-growing economies with a very young and globally connected population, and it has experienced huge growth in its digital economy owing to the surge of high-speed internet. Millennials in the territory enthusiastically follow blockbuster Hollywood movies and premium television,” said Jain in a prepared statement. “Our content will also be available with Bahasa subtitles, making it convenient for local consumers.
Indonesia was slow to join the premium pay-TV and SVOD age in any great numbers, with audiences focused predominantly on broadcast TV and free tiers of OTT platforms. But a recent study by consultancy Media Partners Asia shows that paying subscriptions may have doubled since September last year – sparked by the impact of the coronavirus and the local launch of Disney Plus – to over seven million.
The country could soon become one of the most competitive anywhere in the world for OTT. With Disney Plu, Netflix and local player Vidio moving strongly, Indonesia is also home to Asian regional operators Viu and Catchplay. It is also beginning to feet the impact of the Southeast Asian outreach initiatives of Chinese streaming giants iQIYI and Tencent Video (branded as WeTV).
Starz first launched internationally with its Starzplay international premium streaming platform in 2018. Starz includes flagship STARZ service, including Starz Encore, 17 premium pay-TV channels and associated on-demand and online services.