Weekly News Roundup: Amazon, Okja, YuppTV & Alibaba
[JUNE 12, 2017]: Amazon unveils first India original, Netflix’s Okja shut out of Korean cinemas, plus latest news from Alibaba, YuppTV, Youku and iQiyi.
AMAZON UNVEILS FIRST INDIA ORIGINAL
Amazon has unveiled a teaser for its first Indian original, Inside Edge, co-produced with Mumbai-based Excel Media & Entertainment (Rock On, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara). Created by Karan Anshuman, the series follows an Indian cricket team through a season of the Powerplay league, along with all the drama, corruption and politics that comes with the sport. The series will be available on Amazon in around 200 countries from July 10, 2017.
See the teaser here: www.amzn.to/InsideEdgeTeaser
NETFLIX’S OKJA SHUT OUT OF KOREAN SCREENS
Korea’s three largest cinema chains – CJ CGV, Lotte Cinema and Megabox – are refusing to screen Netflix feature film Okja when it opens in South Korea on June 29. The exhibitors say that the film’s simultaneous theatrical and online release contravenes Korean business practice of having a three-week window between cinemas and streaming. The film, directed by Bong Joon Ho and starring Tilda Swinton, will now be released only in independent cinemas, which account for 7% of South Korean screens. The Korean pushback follows a spat between the French film industry and Netflix when the film was selected for Cannes.
See related analysis here: View From Cannes: Who needs who more in L’Affaire de Netflix?
ALIBABA BUYS INDIA’S TICKETNOW
China’s Alibaba Pictures has acquired a majority stake in Indian online ticketing platform TicketNew. Although financial terms were not disclosed, Alibaba said it is committed to investing a further $18m in the Chennai-based company. Launched in 2007 by Ramkumar Nammalvar, TicketNew reportedly covers around 3,000 cinemas in 300 Indian cities, mostly in the south of India. Alibaba Pictures’ parent group has been investing heavily in India, including the recent acquisition of a $177m stake in electronic payments platform PayTm.
AMAZON TO BE AVAILABLE ON APPLE TV
Amazon and Apple have finally reached an agreement to bring Amazon’s video app to the Apple TV streaming box. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the news at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 5 but didn’t say when the Amazon app would be available. Recode recently reported that Apple employees expect it to show up on Apple TV in the third quarter of 2017. Currently, Amazon subscribers can only use Apple’s Airplay system to stream the SVOD service’s content to an Apple TV.
YUPPTV PARTNERS WITH YASH RAJ FILMS
Indian streaming platform YuppTV has signed a licensing deal with Mumbai-based Yash Raj Films (YRF), increasing the volume of Hindi-language content on the service, which is currently focused on South Indian movies and TV shows. Films covered by the deal include recent YRF releases Sultan, Fan, Befikre and Dhoom:3, among other titles, which will be offered on a TVOD basis within India and through both SVOD and TVOD outside India.
YOUKU TO SCREEN BBC EARTH SERIES
Chinese streaming platform Youku will screen five of BBC Earth’s giant screen nature documentaries – Earthflight (pictured), Incredible Predators, Tiny Giants, Walking With Dinosaurs and Wild Africa – under a deal that also enables Youku to distribute 4K versions of the documentaries to linear channels that can broadcast in the format. BBC Earth films have also been screened in science and technology museums in Hong Kong and mainland Chinese cities.
IQIYI RAMPS UP HIGH END DRAMA PRODUCTION
Chinese streaming platform iQiyi has announced plans to boost budgets and production values for locally-produced online drama series, which would make them more competitive with shows produced by streaming services in the US. Under the ‘Dolphin Plan’, so-called super dramas of around 45 minutes per episode would be produced under a new business model that combines competitive tender, revenue-share and minimum guarantees. iQiyi has also entered into strategic partnerships with former China Film Group chief Han Sanping and Hong Kong filmmaker Stanley Tong to produce 15 super dramas in the coming months.
AMAZON INDIA PACTS WITH WARNER BROS
Amazon Prime Video India has signed a long-term content deal with Warner Bros covering movies such as Sully, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, Suicide Squad and Godzilla, as well as TV shows including Lethal Weapon, Supernatural and Two And A Half Men. Amazon also recently signed content licensing deals for India with Paramount and Lionsgate.
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