Future of TV OTT Media

Viu continues on local content path to stand out in the crowded SEA streaming market

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By Shawn Lim, Reporter, Asia Pacific

May 12, 2021 | 4 min read

Streaming platform Viu has seen an increase in engagement as more people are turning to entertainment as a form of respite from Covid-19. From the onset of the pandemic, it has observed a 29% increase in users and a 62% year-on-year growth in subscription revenue in 2020. The Drum finds out how the platform is continuing to invest in producing originals and acquiring content.

Hong Kong-based streaming platform Viu and Thai record label Boxx Music launched the Close Friend project in March, featuring 12 young rising stars from Thailand.

The project, a genre of series that explores the romantic relationships between male characters, is growing in popularity with Thailand’s female Gen-Z and millennial viewers. It saw 12 upcoming Thai actors take centre stage in six romantic miniseries, accompanied by six original soundtracks and

Boxx Music’s artists have composed six original soundtracks to inspire the narratives for six different love stories.

Virginia Lim, the chief content officer at Viu, explains the platform initiated the Boys Love series collaboration with the awareness that series are on the rise in Thailand and other markets, which is in line with its strategy to provide a premium and diverse selection of Asian entertainment that is tailored to the needs of regional audiences.

“We want to tap into a new generation of audiences and constantly deliver new engaging premium content to our Viu-ers and attract new fans. It is fascinating to see how such collaboration with a music label by combining their talents and our products can enhance the entire appeal of this show,” she adds.

Chodchapak Pholthanachod, director of music business at Boxx Music, points out that the boutique record label prides itself on its independent music space full of fun, creativity, and modernism. Therefore, it wanted to build a community that unites music and lifestyle together.

“We want our artists to be more than just musicians who make music, but also individuals that represent various lifestyles. Hence, this partnership with Viu came at an opportune timing for Boxx Music’s desire to expand beyond just our musical reach – but towards the wider group of streaming audiences,” he adds.

The partnership with Boxx is just one of many original productions that Viu is producing, says Lim, notably Korean drama series with a great cast, production quality, cinematography, and visual effects.

Viu is also investing in owning the rights to high quality shows that have the potential to perform well and loved by its audience, such as River Where the Moon Rises, its first Korean Viu Original series, which was the second most-watched simulcast drama during its premiere airing, right behind The Penthouse 2.

“Doom at Your Service, a romantic and fantasy drama starring Park Bo Young and Seo In Guk, is another of the upcoming original that we are streaming in May. Upcoming in the pipeline, we are also pleased to announce the release of Hong Cheon Gi, a romantic fantasy period drama starring Kim Yoo Jung, Ahn Hyo Seop, and Gong Myung, in Q3 this year,” she explains.

“We also have more than 15 original series currently in production in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and South Africa. From award-winning Malaysian series Black Season 2 to Thai drama series Wannabe, My Coach and Agent Ghost, and Write me a Love Song from Indonesia.”

Despite the arrival of Disney+ in SEA into a crowded streaming market, Lim says Viu’s marketing strategy on creating original content has not changed and it is working closely with South Korea’s broadcasters to bring premium Asian content all year-round to its viewers.

“We want to offer our Viu-ers the most highly anticipated Korean dramas first and exclusively on our platform, and at the same time, stay locally relevant with Viu Original series produced out of some of our key markets,” says Lim.

“We are also excited to expand our content line-up with new Viu Originals from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines and South Africa as we continue introducing meaningful and award-winning Viu Originals that are popular among our audiences in the region.”

She adds: “With Viu’s 45 million MAU, consumer insights are critically important for us to acquire and produce content, as well as to drive better conversion of our audiences to paid users. We will further leverage on our base to draw insights to support our growth and provide content on Viu which did well such as True Beauty, Mr Queen and A World of Married Couple.”

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