Inquirer offers unli K-Pop, dramas for free | Inquirer Entertainment

Inquirer offers unli K-Pop, dramas for free

Partnership with HK company Viu means live, downloadable content from Korea
By: - Researcher
/ 12:11 AM December 04, 2016

TURNING KOREAN. Viu has the largest inventory of Korean content and the most number of simulcasts- from drama, to variety shows, to K-Pop

TURNING KOREAN. Viu has the largest inventory of Korean content and the most number of simulcasts- from drama, to variety shows, to K-Pop

For Filipino fans of “Koreanovelas” and variety shows, the wait for new episodes with decent subtitles can be unbearable, forcing some to settle for mediocre translations and low quality videos streamed illegally.

But aficionados of Korean entertainment won’t have to wait much longer, with the Philippine launch of Viu, an over-the-top video streaming platform made possible with the partnership of the Inquirer Group and telcom giant PCCW (Pacific Century CyberWorks).


“We gave a very big ‘Yes!’ because PCCW is really the biggest as far as video on demand is concerned, and we have seen the demand for Korean content here in the Philippines,” Inquirer President and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez said.


Romualdez said the partnership is part of the evolution of the Inquirer’s five-pronged multimedia platform offerings that make it more engaging—print, desktop, tablet, mobile phone and smartwatch.

“We want to see whether our audience who are used to pulling us for news could be stretched and invited to view Korean content through us,” the Inquirer CEO said at Tuesday’s launch. “It seems that there’s really a fan base for this so we are very encouraged. We’re excited about the possibilities.”

PCCW is a Hong Kong-based company with interests in telecommunications, media and other businesses. Its media group, PCCW Media, operates the largest HK pay television, Now TV.

Local flavor

Ronan De Guzman, general manager of PCCW-Philippines, said providing local flavor is “the secret of video on demand” and “the reason behind PCCW’s decision to partner with a local content company, which is the Inquirer Group.”

viu2 riks

Viu is the first service in the Philippines to offer fast, legal and free streaming and downloading of Korean variety shows, dramas and music programs with English subtitles to smart phones and tablets.

Its 10,000 content hours are provided by top Korean broadcasters KBS, SBS, MBC and CJ E&M. English subtitles are available as early as eight hours after the initial telecast.

The user-friendly iPhone and Android application includes an option to download the shows for offline viewing.

PCCW Managing Director Janice Lee said there are over 30 million viewers online “who would consume videos on the internet regularly.” A survey showed that 70 percent of these viewers watch Korean shows.

Largest number of K-Drama

“I think what was challenging for the users is that no one was organizing these content. It was maybe, pirated or sometimes not consistently available. So Viu presents a good solution to that,” Lee said.

De Guzman said the company has the largest inventory of Korean content and the most number of simulcasts—from drama, to variety shows, to K-Pop.

When the company decided to enter the Philippine video service market, De Guzman said it saw surprising data that made them optimistic.

Among the encouraging data was “acceptance and appreciation” of Korean culture, with fans spending money to watch K-Pop concerts and visiting Korea to see drama locations, De Guzman said.

“So if the story is universal, the production quality good and the delivery platform excellent, would people not want to consume it?” he said.

He said the creators of Viu were surprised to see that a study showed more than 77 percent of Asians watch Korean content. “So they negotiated with all the (Korean) stations, tested the platform and launched it in 2015,” De Guzman said.

Viu currently offers services in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and in the Middle East.

“Viu is a welcome addition to the portfolio of mobile products offered by the Inquirer Group. It offers audiences one of the best video-on-demand streaming services available in the market. Packaged with content that Filipinos love, VIU is also the perfect platform for advertisers to engage with their consumers,” said Anjo Mendoza, president of Megamobile, operator of VIU in the Philippines.

Archive of old episodes

Catering to its nostalgic audience, Viu provides an archive of old episodes from at least three years back. It also offers celebrity watchers trivia and news tidbits about Korean stars.

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In the future, Viu hopes to offer more East Asia content and even Viu Originals, with productions in India and Hong Kong that would eventually make their way to the platform, Lee said.

“We also produce series, dramas, cooking shows, reality shows, lifestyle shows. We hope to bring them to the Philippines eventually,” she added.

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TAGS: Koreanovelas, variety shows, video on demand, video streaming platform, Viu

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