Hong Kong’s largest telecommunications company, PCCW, is making available a new streaming service called Viu, for free in Malaysia.
The Over-the-top (OTT) service, called Viu (pronounced “view”), will be streaming the latest Korean dramas and variety programs a mere eight hours after they air on TV. Viewers will have the option to view the shows with English or Chinese subtitles. They can even choose to download the videos to be watched later.
First launched in Hong Kong late last year and in Singapore today, Viu will be progressively roll out across Asia including Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Middle East.
Viu will be based on a freemium, advertisement supported model, offering users instant access to premium content sourced from Korea, Japan, mainland China and Taiwan on multiple platforms and devices.
Korean content, though it may sound niche, actually has a large market throughout Asia. “We’ve done a survey of online users in Asia,” said Janice Lee, Viu’s managing director of PCCW Media at the local launch in Singapore. “Out of that actually, anywhere from 50 to 80 percent watch Korean dramas. In Singapore, it’s over 50 percent.”
“Korean content travels very well across the Asian market. We’re planning on adding Chinese, Taiwanese and Japanese content, and PCCW also produces our own content and we’ll definitely be bringing it to Viu as well.”
PCCW has sealed pan-regional output deals with the main Korean free-to-air broadcasters – SBS, KBS and MBC – giving it an exclusive window on their content throughout the region. It also has a deal with channel operator CJ E&M, giving Viu programming from Korea’s four most important content providers.
While Viu currently operates on a freemium model, the company plans to introduce a premium service that does away with ads.
At point of writing, Viu is yet to be made available in Malaysia.