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Short form content key to customer loyalty for OTT video brands, says PCCW Media boss

PCCW Media MD Janice Lee taking to Janine Stein

PCCW Media MD Janice Lee taking to Janine Stein

The MD of PCCW Media, the company behind newly launched video on-demand player Viu, has said that the brand will be increasingly focusing on short form content in the coming months, which she said is the best way to keep customers coming back.

Speaking at the Content Asia Summit in Singapore today, Janice Lee, MD of PCCW Media, said that Viu would also be investing more in local content to consolidate its position in the markets where it has launched since the start of the year, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India and, as of May, Indonesia.

Viu launched banking heavily on the regional appeal of Korean content, and is to make it available in “bite-size” instalments more suited to mobile viewing and consumption on the go. The service has also started creating original productions to cater for local audiences.

In India, where Viu’s parent company Vuclip has operated for the last seven years, the company launched What the Duck, a cricket meets comedy show that Lee said was the result of data analysis on what viewers want to watch.

The 13-minute weekly show features stars of past and present including Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan. Viu also plans to move into original content for North Asian audiences too, Lee said.

She did not reveal numbers on subscriber uptake or conversion, but said that adoption of Viu’s fremium model has been going “quite well”.

Subscribers are currently watching an average of 10.5 videos per week and consuming 1.2 to 1.9 hours per day on Viu, she shared.

“You need a price point relevant to the market and a strong local partner. That’s helped us to drive conversion,” she said.

“In pre-paid emerging markets, if you don’t have a local partner, it’s difficult to collect payment as credit card penetration is quite low.”

Pricing is particularly important in emerging markets, she added. “We have to be very careful how we price [the service] with the backdrop of data costs in mind.”

On the sort of content that has proved to be most well received by customers, Lee pointed to Korean dramas such as the hugely popular Descendants of the Sun, which were previously watched by consumers outside of Korea on pirate sites.

“We’ve converted illegal eyeballs to a legal service. Looking beyond that, we’re introducing more short form content to keep consumers coming back,” she said.

Lee said that engagement was the top priority for Viu over the coming months.

“Launching is one thing. Being able to build a successful business is where we’re focused. I see this as the beginning. In each market there is so much work to be done.”

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