Viu, the Asia based OTT video service by PCCW Media Group, is ramping up efforts to actively develop its Viu Original initiative this year which will see 70 titles and over 900 episodes of locally produced content by the end of 2018. Produced in Indian, Chinese, Indonesian and Arabic languages, Viu Original spans the full spectrum of TV content genres and has extended its production scope to movies.
Viu Original is enjoying good growth in emerging markets from viewers who embrace Viu’s freemium model, which provides free access (ad-support) content for all viewers while offering enhanced features to premium subscribers. Viu now boasts over 16 million monthly active users across Asia.
Ms. Janice Lee, Managing Director, PCCW Media Group, said, “With the evolution of OTT streaming service and consumers’ adoption, quality content with strong relevance is key to our continued high engagement with viewers. Viu aims to introduce refreshing local production in various markets, including Spotlight 2 produced by Bollywood director Vikram Bhatt, and Kenapa Harus Bule? by award-winning Indonesian director Andri Cune. Our latest Viu Original series development of The Bridge is a remake of a popular international TV series with Asia context and filmed in Singapore and Malaysia. By working with top tier local talent and production houses, we fulfil our brand promise to provide Viu-ers with compelling localized entertainment.”
Besides working with top directors and production talent in the markets, Viu employs a highly innovative way to come up with new ideas for Viu Original. For example, in Indonesia, Viu ’crowd sourced’ Viu Original ideas in an event called Viu Pitching Forum, where young filmmakers are encouraged to pitch their ideas before a team of renowned producers, directors and scriptwriters. Viu funds shortlisted ideas and collaborates with filmmakers to produce the winning pitches.
At its home base in Hong Kong, Viu enlists local YouTubers and KOLs to join the production team. Such an initiative maximizes engagement with the local creative community to create content relevant and engaging to the Millennials.
Ms. Lee added, “We are encouraged by the overwhelming positive response from viewers for Viu Original and we will continue to create many more fresh and engaging originals tailored to our Millennial Viu-ers. We are especially proud to provide a platform for young talent in local markets to showcase their creativity and gain popularity among our viewers.”
Viu Original has recently launched an array of full feature movies. High Jack, which is co-produced with award-winning Phantom Films in India, is scheduled to be screened in 450 Indian theatres followed by viewing on the Viu platform. Kenapa Harus Bule?, a Viu Original satirical comedy movie with a deep message of valuing inner beauty and pride of being Indonesian, was screened in Indonesia recently.
Establishing relationships with broadcast partners is part of the Viu plan to bring Viu Original to free-to-air and pay-TV audience around the world. Viu has so far collaborated with Zoom TV, and Gemini TV to deliver its original content to free TV and pay-TV audience in India.
Viu also wants to leverage increased engagement with Millennials to increase its appeal to advertisers targeting them through Viu Original content. Drama series and variety shows co-produced with advertisers have been gaining traction with these audiences and the’ response to Viu Original has helped Viu add a list of big name brands to its roster.
Mr. Achmad Alkatiri, Chief Marketing Officer of Lazada Indonesia, said, “We believe that engaging in an innovative format brings us closer to our Millennial audience. Viu helps us connect with our audience through a compelling story that they appreciate.”
Mr. MK Machaiah (Mac), Chief Innovation Officer of Mindshare South Asia, also welcomes this initiative by Viu: “We are always discovering and experimenting with novel areas of content via machine learning, creativity and adaptive marketing in order to curate focused and sharp solutions for our brands. Smart content is the need of the hour and this collaboration with Viu has helped us connect with the right audience effectively. Viu continues to support us in the brand journey to engage with the millennial audience through premium and commercially vibrant content and we are confident that together we will set higher benchmarks.”