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Vuclip parent PCCW sells 18% in OTT biz for $110m, fuels growth

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MUMBAI: PCCW Media, the parent company of Vuclip which provides web-based and short-form content video services in 19 markets including India, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa and other emerging markets with multiple patents, has introduced three investors.

Further fueling growth and innovation of Viu and other OTT services in Asia and beyond, PCCW has brought in Hony Capital (Hony), Foxconn Ventures (Foxconn) and Temasek as investors of PCCW International OTT (Cayman Islands) Holdings Limited (PCCW OTT).

This strategic investment will strengthen PCCW OTT's ability to enhance its core value proposition of relevant content including distinctive original productions, and to continue to deploy the latest technologies and leverage its patents in video streaming and encoding to offer the best customer experience. As a rapidly expanding business, PCCW OTT aims to increase its penetration within the existing markets where it has made significant inroads as well as to expand its footprint in other high-growth markets.

PCCW OTT engages in the provision of OTT (over-the-top) Internet media and entertainment services in 24 markets globally, including video streaming services under the "Viu" and "Vuclip" brands as well as a music streaming service under the "MOOV" brand. Hony, Foxconn and Temasek will own approximately 18% of the enlarged issued share capital of PCCW OTT for a total consideration of US$110 million. PCCW Media will remain as the controlling shareholder of PCCW OTT.

PCCW Media Group managing director Janice Lee said, "Our focus on content, pricing and technology that are locally relevant in various markets, together with our fast-tracked rollout across the region, has enabled Viu to become a leading OTT video service in Asia. We are very excited to have Hony, Foxconn and Temasek join us as strategic shareholders. Bringing these reputable partners in the business will support our current plans and strengthen our leading position in the market with the introduction of more locally relevant and original content, and technology to support innovative product development - all of which are beneficial to our ecosystem comprised of users, advertisers and business partners."

Hony Capital chairman and CEO John Zhao said, "Hong Kong is the forefront of international collaboration responding to the Belt and Road Initiatives, and Viu at present has laid out effective business map in Southeast Asian countries along the Belt and Road, which will no doubt play an essential and unique role to help the culture, content as well as creative ideas to travel abroad. We are glad that we can join hands with Viu led by Lee, and we hope Hony Capital can bring in not only the capital support, but also other value-added services and resources. In the meanwhile, Hony Capital can incorporate the business into our existing endeavors in the cultural and creative industry, to eventually offer even better Chinese contents to the world."

Foxconn EVP Fang Ming Lu said, "Foxconn is transforming to be a Technology Service Provider from content creation to network transmission. We will work with PCCW to deliver advanced OTT service to the market. We believe the collaboration will enhance the customer experience in entertainment life and accelerate the development of the OTT ecosystem."

Launched in October 2015, Viu has over 12 million monthly active users as of June 2017. The service operates on a dual-model of an ad-supported tier of service and a premium subscription tier of service with more features. Viu delivers premium Asian content in different genres from top content providers with express delivery of local language subtitles as fast as four hours after original telecast. It also offers original production series under the "Viu Original" initiative. Viu is available in 15 markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and the Middle East countries of Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Joining the PCCW family in May 2015, both Viu and Vuclip users can enjoy smooth and unbuffered viewing experience regardless of device or network conditions. MOOV is one of Hong Kong's largest multi-platform digital streaming music service and ranked number one on brand awareness and user satisfaction in Hong Kong (which is also available in Vietnam).

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