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Viacom is continuing to pursue an Asian strategy focused on mobile.
Its subsidiary Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is launching the Nick Jr. linear channel in Indonesia as part of a collaboration with the country’s largest mobile operator, Telkomsel. VMN is also developing a mobile game with Singapore-headquartered mobile game publisher goGame, a subsidiary of video game giant Sega, based on Nickelodeon characters, which will debut in the third quarter of 2019.
VIMN last year unveiled its Nickelodeon Play app in Indonesia via Telkomse, which has 196 million subscribers. The new linear channel targeting preschoolers will roll out in the second quarter in English and a Bahasa Indonesian localized version. It is VIMN’s first linear channel deal with a mobile partner in Indonesia.
The as-yet-untitled VIMN-goGame mobile game marks the first game VIMN has licensed to an Asian game developer that brings a family of Nickelodeon properties together.
“We’ve been putting a lot of work into mobile for the last 10 years, and I do feel we’re getting traction there, it feels like we’re at a tipping point,” said David Lynn, VIMN president and CEO, at the APOS convention in Bali, Indonesia. “The industry is being driven by 4G networks, wait until 5G and that’s going to step up even more. Add that to the fact that telecommunications companies are looking for opportunities to provide value-added services means it is a big opportunity for us.”
In addition, VIMN is looking to launch across multiple territories Paramount+, the streaming service that offers an exclusive first pay TV window for Paramount Pictures’ new and classic movie releases, Lynn said. The service debuted in the Nordics in October as an on-demand service that includes content from Paramount Pictures combined with Viacom’s networks for the first time.
In February, Viacom signed a deal with Telefonica to make live feeds of MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Comedy Central and Paramount Channel TV channels, as well as VOD content and mobile streaming apps — MTV Play, Nickelodeon Play, Comedy Central Play and Noggin — available for streaming by subscribers of the Movistar Play platform in Latin America. “The size of the Telefonica looks like a traditional TV deal. That’s a really good example of where the innovation is going,” Lynn told APOS.
The potential is even bigger in Asia. “It is the biggest 4G and OTT market in the world. There is a lot of innovation happening here. Our team in Asia is coming up with innovative products,” he said.
Lynn also discussed specific Asian markets. “Japan is a great market for OTT. There are over 100 million 4G customers, so we use OTT as a means to grow in the market,” Lynn said. The company launched a Nickelodeon linear channel on the Japanese OTT platform dTV-Channel in January.
In China, where there is an explosive consumption of video on mobile phones, the company is developing a co-production project for children, Deer Run, with the country’s streaming stalwart iQiyi.
Meanwhile, VIMN has its Voot service in India, which is the third-biggest player in the SVOD market. “In India, 80 percent of the users only consume on mobile, so you can see that’s a huge driver there,” Lynn said.
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