The massive expansion in original productions from Asia is owing to the encouraging increases in viewership in 2018 that Viu experienced, with monthly active users nearly doubling to 30m and video consumption time increasing by close to 120% over the previous year.
Viu has announced a slate of eight Viu Original titles in 2019 with plans to release over 80 titles of scripted and non-scripted series this year. The titles include Till Death Do Us Part (Hong Kong), starring Sheren Tang; The Gutter (Hong Kong), featuring a cast of film awards winners; Psycho Detective 2 (Hong Kong), reuniting local legendary actor Adam Cheng with famous TV icon Michael Tao after 26 years; Rewrite (Indonesia), featuring social media star Maxime Bouttier; Baha Don (Malaysia), directed by award-winning director Kye Syed Fariz; Kopitiam (Malaysia), based on a multi-award-winning television sitcom; The Grill (India), a series about the mis-adventures of an engineering college fresher and The Zodiac (Middle East), based on a novel by renowned author Dr. Ahmed Khalid Tawfiq
The productions from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, the Philippines and the Middle East are part of Vius commitment to Viu Original based on encouraging increases in viewership in 2018, which saw monthly active users nearly doubling to 30m and video consumption time increasing by close to 120% over the previous year.
In line with this commitment, Viu has expanded its offering beyond the most current and extensive Korean content which are popular across its markets in Southeast Asia, to include Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and Arabic content through partnerships such as with GMM and Workpoint in Thailand, Media Prima in Malaysia and Media 7 in Myanmar, as well as via its own Viu Original.
Janice Lee, Managing Director PCCW Media, owner of the Viu service said: Viu Original has become an important part of our content offering. Learning from what our 30m Viu-ers enjoy watching, we have further developed Viu Original portfolios which attracted significant growth of new users to the service. In 2018, 30% of Viu Original viewers were new to the platform. We plan to continue investing in original content by working with local talent and the creative industry in the region with an aim to releasing over 80 titles in 2019. The Viu Original series also allows us to experiment with different creative formats and push for more innovation in production and partnerships in the industry.
The travelogue No Sleep No FOMO, in which 10 Asian celebrities and social media influencers compete to finish various missions in popular destinations around the world, received a lot of applause online. Fans participated and helped chart the course of their idols adventure via Instagram interactions during shooting and helped co-create segments of the show. Leveraging the stars social media fans base, the social media posts of No Sleep No FOMO have generated more than one million social engagement and reached over 14m users. The success of the show led to a new cooperation with Discovery a collaboration that will expand the shows reach to new quality audiences on a leading entertainment network.
We are delighted with our new collaboration with Discovery proving that our original content is not only made for online consumption, but also having an audience no matter what platform you are on, Lee added.
Aside from developing and launching premium long form original productions, the Viu Original initiative also aims to support and develop the local creative eco-system and industry. It does so through development programmes such as the Viu Pitching Forum an annual event aimed at helping upcoming Indonesian film makers find distribution for their work. Since the forum, two web series, Halustik and Knock Out Girl, have already been produced and released to Viu-ers. The recently announced Star Stealer, winner of 2019 Viu Pitching Forum, will be soon in production.
The success of the Viu Pitching Forum also led to the launch of ViuShorts!, a young creator development program aiming to foster creativity and diversity. High-school and university students learnt how to tell exceptional stories through film in year-long workshops and competed to win a scholarship at the Jakarta Institute of Art and a professional internship with the Viu Original production team. Seventeen short films made by students and aspiring film makers will be released in 2019.