PCCW Media has launched Viu OTT, online video streaming service in Hong Kong in October 2015. The service is now operating on a freemium basis with advertisement, the company revealed that paid service will be introduced in the future but the launch date and pricing detail were not disclosed.
The service is offering premium content, including TV shows and dramas from Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan. One of its unique selling points is that it offers exclusive content of the latest Korean drama and variety shows with Traditional Chinese subtitle 8 hours after Korea’s television broadcast. To date, there is no international content offered on this platform.
PCCW media revealed its plan to expand Viu OTT across Asia including India and Middle East in the coming six month after its debut in Hong Kong.
Viu OTT is the second digital video initiative by PCCW, a global company headquartered in Hong Kong which holds interests in telecommunications, media, IT solutions, property development and investment, and other businesses. PCCW owns a fully integrated multimedia and entertainment group in Hong Kong, PCCW Media. PCCW Media’s first attempt in digital video market was the multiscreen proposition of Now TV. Now TV is the first internet protocol television (IPTV) pay TV operator in Hong Kong and it claims to be the largest pay TV service in Hong Kong with nearly 1.3 million subscribers as of June 2015. Now TV launched online streaming service as part of its multiscreen service in 2012. As well as multiscreen offer, Now TV also provides a pay per view service - Now Video Express, which allows the pay TV users to rent movies online using their nowID.
PCCW is strengthening up its digital media presence in the region as competition intensifies following the presence of new regional players in Asia, HOOQ and iflix which continuously expanding their coverage in the region. In last September, Netflix announced that it is expanding to Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea in 2016. Viu OTT is differentiating itself with other players by offering only Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Taiwanese content.
PCCW Media also ventured into content production as part of its digital strategy by co-producing drama. The first original drama series - The Virtuous Queen of Han, was very successful in mainland China among TV stations and online video platforms. The series has reached 13 other APAC markets apart from China. The company also set up a HKD 1.3 bn investment fund to be invested in programming and production.
In March 2015, PCCW Media has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Vuclip, a US-based mobile video service. Vuclip reported to have over seven million paying mobile subscribers in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Moreover, Vuclip has existing partnership with more than 10 leading mobile operators in India, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
By leveraging PCCW’s existing advantage in telecommunication industry, relationship with content providers and its existing mobile video service, Vuclip, Viu OTT is well positioned in the Hong Kong market to compete with other industry players.