Multi-territory Asian streaming service Viu has publicly disclosed key performance metrics for the first time and said that it was cash flow positive on an annual basis in 2022.
The company, which operates in 16 Asian and Middle East markets and is seen as a rare success story in regional streaming, counts Hong Kong conglomerate PCCW as its principal shareholder, which also unveiled its own profits and loss figures for the 2022 calendar year.
Viu which operates both ad-supported and paying tiers, said that it had 66.4 million monthly active users in 2022, an increase of 13% year-on-year. Paying subscribers increased by 45% to 12.2 million over the same period.
The company’s revenue, a mix of subscriptions, advertising sales and content licensing, also grew by 45% year on year to $206 million in 2022. The company said that it achieved positive EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation and depreciation) in the year, a key indicator that the company is viable, but did not disclose the figure.
Founded in 2015, “Viu has remained at the top spot in terms of MAU for the 12th consecutive quarter and ranked second in paid subscribers and streaming minutes across the Southeast Asia region,” it claimed.
Among the company’s top performers in 2022 were Lee Joon-gi’s “Again My Life,” Lee Seung Gi’s “Law Café” and the Viu original “Reborn Rich,” which starred Song Joong-ki and was distributed to some 150 countries across Asia, the Middle East, Japan and the Americas.
Live events are also becoming a vector for Viu. The company hosted Song in Singapore to engage with the local media and fans from the region. Other events included a Viu road show with the cast of the Indonesian Viu original “Pretty Little Liars” (S2) and a Viu watch party for the premiere of another Viu original “Again My Life” in Singapore.
“An expanded slate of Viu Original content and enhanced distribution partnerships at both local and regional level drove Viu’s new user growth, increased engagement and delivered strong growth in both SVOD and AVOD revenues in 2022. Looking ahead in 2023, while we continue to focus on bringing a great lineup of content offerings to our audience, with most markets returning to its pre-pandemic self, we set out to further connect and engage with our users beyond their screens by bringing the stars closer to their fans across various markets via a series of live events and experiences,” said Janice Lee, CEO of Viu and MD of PCCW Media Group.
The recently released “SEA Online Video Consumer Insights & Analytics, Q4 2022” contextualized Viu’s performance. “Southeast Asia Online Video added 4.6 million net new paying customers in Q4 2022, the highest category growth since Q2 2021. Viu was one of the top two OTT services that drove approximately 51% of net subscriber additions aggregated across five Southeast Asia markets. Viu has built a robust subscriber acquisition funnel through a freemium model, with growing focus on paid content and subscribers. In addition, Viu is among the three leading platforms in SEA, accounting for an aggregate 52% of subscriptions in the region,” said the consultancy Media Partners Asia.
“Viu’s three to five exclusive Korean dramas per quarter in Q2 to Q4 drove subscriber growth while subtitled, day-and-date variety and reality content continues to provide meaningful competitive differentiation against peers. Local original content efforts and acquired free-to-air (FTA) titles have been impactful in retaining subscribers,” MPA added.