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12 January 2016
Janice Lee, managing director of PCCW Media Group, talks to Capacity about the launch of its latest OTT video service, Viu, and its future development strategy.
What prompted the launch of Viu
OTT is an important part of
our strategic development in view of the notable seismic
shift in consumer lifestyle and viewing habits, especially with
the Millennial Generation who are tech savvy, platform
agnostic, budget conscious and demand flexible
access to quality entertainment. As such we have been looking
to develop a product like Viu OTT for some time.
Following our investment
earlier in 2015 in Vuclip, we wanted to fully leverage its
technology, vast subscriber base of over eight million and
extensive footprint across 10 countries to make a big stride
forward with Viu.
We intend to leverage our
experience in OTT, our advanced adaptive
streaming technology by Vuclip which allows us to overcome any
infrastructure hurdle in emerging markets’
bandwidth limitation, as well as our strong content providers
and telco network to provide the best legal entertainment
content to discerning consumers on our OTT
Viu OTT is responding to the
consumer’s viewing habits. This market was largely
taken up by illegal downloading and now we are offering an
innovative global video platform to allow users to access
premium content on the mobile legally. The $290 billion global
television market is being disrupted by six billion mobile
devices. By delivering direct to users engaging legal content,
Viu OTT video service will be rolled out in the region in the
coming six months.
Where is the service
initially available and where will you expand it
The service was only recently
launched in Hong Kong offering Hong Kong users free instant
access on multi platforms and devices to exclusive popular
content. We will progressively roll out across Asia and into
markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, India and Indonesia over
the next six months.
In each of the markets where we
will launch our service, there will be localisation of content
to ensure it is relevant to the local audience. These include
among others, local language sub-titling and other curated
content produced for that market.
One challenge we faced during
the roll-out was infrastructure. Obviously Asia is not a
homogenous market and has a varying degree of bandwidth and
However, we are well-positioned
to manage and overcome this hurdle as we have our advanced,
patented, adaptive streaming technology supported by Vuclip
which ensures stable smooth streaming of content in emerging
markets where bandwidth is an issue.
How do you expect TV
streaming to grow over the next five years?
Noting the paradigm shift in
the millennial generation’s lifestyle and viewing
habits, the OTT market is going to grow exponentially. The
figures speak for themselves and we are only at the
Globally OTT pay TV services
are forecast by IHS to have the highest compound annual growth
rate (CAGR) of any pay TV service. There were 494 million
active OTT video viewers in Asia-Pacific in 2014, according to
Media Partners Asia analysts. We will also see a big increase
in users of feature phones who will turn to more sophisticated
mobile phones and other devices, in particular in developing
countries, and whose viewing habits will also grow.
How do you plan to
develop the Viu OTT service in line with market
We will extend our service to
our existing footprint as well as to new markets like
Singapore, Malaysia, India and Indonesia. The order of roll-out
will depend on the size of the market, consumer demand, the
infrastructure, content delivery network and alliance we forge
with our partners.
At the moment we adopt a
freemium model - free to watch with ad support and premium
services available in the future. This is very versatile model
as the 'free’ aspect would encourage trial, get us
penetration and once the users are engaged, the uptake in the
markets will hike and users would choose to upgrade to access
premium features and functions.
We will definitely offer our
customers the best value for money deal in the market. Viu
offers users instant access on multi-platforms and devices to
premium global and local product content.
Users enjoy absolute freedom
and flexibility in viewing the programs as they can readily
stream and watch their favourite programs on their mobile
devices, phones and tablets as well as computers, and laptops.
We are confident the market is there, and with a great product
like Viu OTT, we answer the demand of the consumers.
A viu from the top,