The year in review: Most significant launches

Mumbrella Asia present some of the most interesting media and marketing launches in Asia this year.


HKTVHKTV. An estimated 120,000 people gathered in the streets of protest-weary Hong Kong in October last year demanding to know why the government blocked an application for a terrestrial TV channel proposed by entrepreneur Ricky Wong. The Hong Kong television market could not sustain five TV stations, the government argued. But despite official opposition, the ad industry was among the groups to unite in outrage against the authority’s decision, and some months later HKTV launched on the internet. The signs are promising. More than 640,000 viewers tuned in to HKTV programmes on its inaugural day, crashing the ipTV channel’s server and sending 300,000 viewers to other websites carrying the feed illegally.


Narendra ModiBuzzfeed India. Since the local version of the social news and entertainment site launched out of Mumbai on August 15, the brand has stuck to its aim – to reframe Buzzfeed “using our language and a voice coming from inside of India”, editor Rega Jha told Mumbrella the week before launch. One worry about launching was that “Buzzfeed is seen as an American brand, a voice sometimes commenting on India but from the outside,” Jha said. Also, that copycats such as Storypick and ScoopWhoop already existed before Buzzfeed India launched. But perhaps the biggest concern was managing expectations for growth in the world’s largest democracy. She said: “The running joke with my New York colleagues is that they say, ‘Oh my God we’re going to have 1.2 billion new readers’. And I joke that those who have internet in India, and speak English, amounts to about five people, so let’s manage our expectations.”


Coming soon: Xaxis 2.0

Coming soon: Xaxis 2.0

WPP’s second agency trading desk. Though it doesn’t have a name yet, news that GroupM is to launch an alternative to its existing trading desk Xaxis said a lot about the state of the market. Clients want to know exactly how their money is being spent and what margins agencies are making on trades. Or at least some do. And this prompted WPP to launch an option that gives clients full disclosure. It’ll be interesting to see who GroupM picks to go to head with the recently promoted CEO of Xaxis APAC boss Michel de Rijk next year.


Maker StudiosMaker Studios. One of the biggest producers of content on YouTube, which was acquired by Disney for $500 million in March, expanded its presence in Asia beyond Singapore with a view to launching in Hong Kong as a bridgehead into China. By the sound of it, the company wants to launch everywhere, with Australia, India and Japan also on the radar. International president Rene Rechtman told Mumbrella: “We are already getting 700 million views per month from our content in Asia, and have been seeing about 400 per cent growth year on year.” Not to be sniffed at.


Philips conversation engine explainedPhilips Conversation Engine. The electronics giant’s new digital command centre in Singapore brought a number of agency staff inhouse when it launched in September. It was the first major move by new CMO Damien Cummings. When it launched, the former Dell and Samsung marketer said of the agency collaboration model: “We want people to throw their business cards away at the door, as we create teams around five key themes – aging well, connected workspaces, smart home, ‘look good, feel good’ and clean air.”


Nick GeorgeOLIVER. There was a bit of resistance to the Asia launch of a marketing services agency called Oliver that hand-picks ad teams to work on a client’s premises. In the comment thread beneath a Q&A with its Asia director Nick George (right), one poster said: “Looks like you can have an agency assembled for you like Ikea furniture.” Another noted that the idea wasn’t new. “The agency currently known as Lowe was set up as Lever International Advertising Services (Lintas) decades ago – then spun off when they realised that no decent agency person wanted to be in an in-house agency with just one client.” Fair points. Although the Oliver idea should hold appeal among clients in this region who want work turned around quickly for less, and aren’t obsessed with winning awards. Which is probably the majority.


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