PCCW-backed Vuclip launches OTT platform Viu in India

VIA (1)It's raining over-the-top (OTT) platforms in India. And Hong Kong based PCCW Ltd (PCCW) run digital entertainment firm Vuclip Inc is the latest one to join the bandwagon. The digital entertainment firm has launched its second OTT platform, Viu.

It already operates one service under the main brand name VuClip.

PCCW is the flagship conglomerate of Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li Tzar-kai.

"While Vuclip was launched as a mass offering, Viu will have more premium content including shows which are exclusive to the platform," said Nickhil Jakatdar, founder and CEO, Vuclip.

The company first launched Viu in Malaysia (December 2015), followed by Hong Kong (January 2016) and Singapore (February 2016).

Last week, broadcast company Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) came out with a second video streaming platform called OZEE. This is a free-to-watch OTT platform unlike its first offering, DittoTV. and will have catch-up content from Zee's bouquet of entertainment channels.

Like many of its peers in the OTT business, VuClip will follow a 'free-mium' business model in case of Viu. In such a scenario, while some content on the platform is made available to viewers for free, one is required to subscribe for rest of the premium content. The company is selling subscription for Rs 99 per month.

As per Jakatdar, to carve out a differentiated content plan, the company has used global video insights studies. "The new app will have more 42,000 hours of Bollywood and English content for Indian audience," he added.

The company has forged content partnerships with production houses and content owners such as Reliance Big Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., Sony Music, Zee Digital Convergence, Tips Industries Ltd, Balaji Motion Pictures, Rajshri Entertainment, Unisys Infosolutions, Shemaroo, Anand Audio, and BBC Worldwide.

The Kennedy's, Allo Allo, Critical, Olympus, 19-2 and The Clean Break, are some of the English shows which can be watched on the app.

The company has partnered with payment service provider FreeCharge, and online commerce firm eBay. While FreeCharge will offer a free one-month trial subscription as well as cash back deals for premium subscribers, eBay India has been brought on board as a strategic distribution partner and will offer various packages and bundles related to Viu.

With as many 25-30 OTT players running their services in India, industry observers say one needs to have a compelling offering to get eyeballs. "Content will remain the key to the success of an OTT players besides a solid marketing strategy," says Ashish Pherwani, partner, advisory services, EY.