Platforms Featured Global

Funimation migrates all anime content to Crunchyroll as part of merger

California, USA – Following the acquisition of Sony’s Funimation of anime streaming service Crunchyroll in 2021, Crunchyroll announced that all of the anime-related content from Funimation will be migrated to Crunchyroll, making it one of the largest streaming services globally that serve anime-related content.

To date, there are over 40,000 subbed and dubbed episodes of anime titles available on Crunchyroll for fans to enjoy. In addition to consolidation of SVOD services, Sony-owned Funimation Global Group, LLC will now operate as Crunchyroll LLC and has initiated rebranding across its global footprint to solidify Crunchyroll as the single, global brand for anime.

According to Crunchyroll, said corporate move offers fans the “ultimate anime experience” with subs, dubs, films, and simulcast series in over 200 countries and territories and in 10 languages.

Colin Decker, CEO of Crunchyroll, said, “When we brought Funimation and Crunchyroll together last year, our top priority was to put fans first. Unifying all of our brands and services under the Crunchyroll brand globally enables us to offer more value than ever before as we combine subs, dubs, simulcasts, library, music, movies, manga—all into one subscription.” 

He added, “The new Crunchyroll is the realisation of a dream, and we are grateful to the creators of anime and the millions of fans who have joined us in making the community what it is today.”

Despite the merger, Crunchyroll’s pricing remains unchanged, with its basic subscription priced at around US$7.99 a month.

In addition to the content migration, French entertainment company Wakanim will also be integrated into their new parent company, Crunchyroll LLC. Wakanim is consolidated to Aniplex, a Japanese anime and music production company, which was later on consolidated under Funimation as part of Sony’s corporate move.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SG court cracks down on illegal streaming sites, associated domains in latest order

Singapore – Courts in Singapore are continuously cracking down on the rising number of media piracy in the country, as the latest order has stated it will beblocking 30 illegal streaming sites and almost 150 associated domains. Said announcement was made public by the Asia Video Industry Association’s (AVIA) Coalition Against Piracy (CAP).

Said coalition is made up of member corporations such as BBC Studios, Discovery Communications, LaLiga, the Premier League and TVB International.

Under the order, internet service providers must disable access to these illegal sites and their associated domains.

Matthew Cheetham, general manager at CAP, said, “Illegal streaming sites are simply illegal. Piracy is not a victimless crime and hurts not only content providers but also consumers who can be exposed to viruses and malware when accessing illegal sites, including malware that can access a user’s sensitive data such as banking details.”

Singapore has long been involved in cracking down on illegal streaming sites. In 2018, HK-based media and entertainment company PCCW Media filed a case against Singapore’s telco and ISP operators regarding allowing hosting illegal streaming sites such as DramaNice, DramaCool, MyAsianTV, KShowOnline and KissAsian.

In the same year, Disney Enterprises also filed a lawsuit against the local ISP operators regarding illegal streaming sites, categorised as flagrantly infringing online locations.

Platforms Featured APAC

Sports media group ELEVEN secures content rights for SEA, HK user base

Hong Kong – ELEVEN, a sports media group, has secured additional content rights for some of the most popular sporting events this year, and will be catered to their user base in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. The content will be composed of 2,000 hours worth of live sports content dedicated to the region’s growing sports fanbase.

ELEVEN has an extensive package of Asian Football Confederation rights and is currently home to live coverage of every AFC Asian Women’s Cup and AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar match in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam.

In addition, ELEVEN also has the rights to Spain’s Copa del Rey, the Malaysian SPL Sepak Takraw League (STL) and a roster of international cricket, badminton and Japanese table tennis.

Cricket, table tennis and badminton are being served up as well to fans in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam. Live coverage of this season’s Copa del Rey and STL are also available on ELEVEN across the region with the exception of Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.

Lastly, a total of 19 European badminton events will be shown by ELEVEN during 2022. Live table tennis coverage from Japan will be delivered to audiences from February, and STL coverage is already underway.

Nick Wilkinson, managing director for APAC at The ELEVEN Group, said, “We are excited to be growing our operations across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong with a compelling mix of local and locally relevant content. Our ambition is to offer our audiences a dynamic new service to follow the sport they love. The partnerships that we have negotiated so far mean we are well on the way to delivering on this mission and we will be continuing to expand our portfolio in the coming months.”

ELEVEN is employing a streaming-first approach in all Southeast Asia markets and Hong Kong, with its platform at the heart of its offering. ELEVEN’s streaming service is due to be supplemented by partnerships with local linear operators to make content as accessible to fans as possible.

Platforms Featured South Asia

Telco Telenor Pakistan, BOLT Digital to bring premium live streaming to Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan – Mobile digital communication company Telenor Pakistan and blockchain-based media and fintech BOLT Digital have joined forces in bringing access to premium live TV entertainment to viewers in Pakistan. 

This will be accessible for the telco’s subscribers via BOLT Global’s live-streaming service, BOLT+, a blockchain-based streaming service with over 600 live TV and radio channels from 28 countries.

BOLT+ streams a wide range of live TV channels, including breaking news and premium entertainment from France 24, Al Jazeera, and Deutsche Welle Group. In addition, through BOLT Global’s partnership with soccer app OneFootball, Telenor Pakistan customers are also able to enjoy direct access to exclusive football content from the top football clubs in the world. 

Areej Khan, vice president digital at Telenor Pakistan, said, “We are happy to be working with BOLT Global to launch BOLT+ Premium in Pakistan. At Telenor Pakistan, we strive to bring new and exciting entertainment experiences to our subscribers. With BOLT+, our subscribers can watch international live TV channels anytime, anywhere.”

She added, “Through our unique partnerships bringing enhanced value for our valued customers, we are confident that our users will continue to value us as their preferred service provider.”

Access to BOLT+ has 2 tiers: an ad-supported free tier called BOLT+ Free and a paid subscription known as BOLT+ Premium which includes premium features to enhance users’ live entertainment experience. Telenor users can easily subscribe to BOLT+ Premium via their mobile balance.

Jamal Hassim, co-founder and CEO of BOLT Global, commented, “We will be working with Telenor Pakistan to bring more exciting, immersive and rewarding content to our new users in the country. Already, users can access a huge array of international live channels bringing news, European club football and esports amongst other genres on BOLT+. We will also be working closely with Telenor Pakistan on the ground to uncover new content creators in the country, and to broadcast their content to an international audience on BOLT+.”

Platforms Featured APAC

HBO GO unveils price upgrade, new program lineup for Asia

Singapore – HBO GO, WarnerMedia’s regional streaming service in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, has revealed a new pricing strategy and confirmed some of its new programming for the rest of 2021.

In the price update, HBO GO has announced that three-month subscriptions in its six direct-to-consumer territories will be available at the following discounted monthly prices, namely in Singapore (S$9.99), Malaysia (RM23.30), Philippines (₱99.70), Indonesia (Rp.33,000), Thailand (Bt.99.70), and Taiwan (NT$97).

HBO GO is still available in Hong Kong and Vietnam, but will be relayed through third-party operators.

Meanwhile, new programs for the streaming service include mystery adventure drama series ‘La Brea’, comedy series ‘Hacks’, and drama series ‘Succession’. These global titles complement the premiere of the Taiwanese HBO Asia Original ‘Who’s By Your Side’ along with hit Warner Bros. movies, including ‘The Suicide Squad’, ‘Malignant’ and ‘Reminiscence’.

In addition, boxsets for the original 2007 ‘Gossip Girl’ series, ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and HBO classic ‘The Sopranos’ will be available to stream. Fans of the latter series will also enjoy the exclusive direct to streaming availability of the prequel theatrical title ‘The Many Saints of Newark’ in November.

“With a new price point and some of the best-loved content out there, HBO GO presents its most compelling proposition yet. As we close out 2021, there are more and more reasons to subscribe, especially with the holiday season around the corner,” said Amit Malhotra, managing director for HBO GO/HBO Max in Southeast Asia, India and Korea.

Upgrades to the service are ongoing with direct credit card payments now available in Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. Dolby 5.1 sound will be introduced shortly, while three concurrent streams are now allowed.

HBO GO subscribers can choose from a vast collection of premium series and movies, across drama, comedy, kids and documentary genres. Titles include HBO Originals, Max Originals, HBO Asia Originals, content from Warner Bros. TV and Pictures, DC, Adult Swim and Cartoon Network originals, in addition to licensed content.

Platforms Featured ANZ

Here are the top streaming services in Australia during the pandemic

Sydney, Australia – Despite easing movement restrictions due to COVID-19, streaming content consumption in Australia remains large, with 19.1 million subscriptions recorded at the end of June 2021 across these platforms, which is an increase of 16% from 16.4 million in June 2020. This is according to the latest insights from technology analyst firm Telsyte.

According to their latest insights, Netflix dominates the Australian subscription video on demand (SVOD) services market, with 6 million subscriptions recorded by the end of June 2021. This is then followed by Amazon Prime Video with 2.9 million, Disney+ with 2.6 million, Stan with 2.4 million, and Kayo Sports with 1.1 million.

The remaining 4.1 million are from more than 30 SVOD services such as Binge, Apple TV+, Hayu, Paramount+, Optus Sport, and Britbox.

The survey also notes that 78% of Australian households had at least one entertainment subscription at the end of June 2021, an increase from 65% three years earlier. Subscribing households now have an average of 4.3 entertainment services, which is up from the average of 2.7 in June 2018, largely driven by SVOD subscriptions.

In terms of what type of content Australians want to watch, the sports category has grew 48% year-on-year and the percentage of paid sports subscriptions has also improved significantly, from less than 15% a year ago to over 50% at the end of June 2021.

In addition, around 51% of Australian SVOD customers believe it is important to have content that has Australian stories, voices, culture, and values on SVOD services.

“Australians are clearly attracted to big production movies, TV shows and sporting codes they follow year on year, and are collecting subscriptions on the way,” Foad Fadaghi, managing director at Telsyte, says.

The firm also estimates that total SVOD subscriptions could reach 26 million by June 2025 with higher multiple subscriptions and new services which are boosted by new content licensing deals, and potential bundling, like what is done with Amazon Prime.

“Increasing investment in original content will become more important as part of SVOD providers’ growth and retention strategies. Additionally, Australia has been a popular choice as a source of content and content production,” the firm said in a press statement.

Platforms Featured APAC

HBO Max names latest MD to take helm of SEA, India market

Singapore – As the company aims to expand its streaming services across new markets in Asia, subscription video on demand (VOD) streaming service HBO Max has announced the appointment of Amit Malhotra as HBO Max’s managing director for Southeast Asia and India.

He will immediately assume responsibility for the management of HBO GO, WarnerMedia’s existing OTT streaming service available in eight territories across Southeast Asia. In the future, he will spearhead the introduction of HBO Max in these territories and will lead WarnerMedia’s exploration of future opportunities to launch the streaming platform in additional markets, as well as a potential future launch in India.

Under Malhotra’s leadership, WarnerMedia expects to launch HBO Max in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and in Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam in the future, including an expanded content offering for the entire family and a premium new platform that would be hosted on HBO Max’s tech stack, providing a more stable and consistent streaming experience than HBO GO. 

Prior to his new role, Malhotra most recently served as regional lead for Disney+ in Southeast Asia, where he was responsible for overseeing the launch and operations of Disney’s streaming services in the region, including Disney+, Disney+ Hotstar and Hotstar. He also led the content sales and distribution division as part of The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to Consumer & International (DTCI) business in South APAC and Middle East.

Speaking about his appointment, he said, “I am delighted to be part of the incredible team at WarnerMedia in Asia as we look at bringing HBO Max to this region. WarnerMedia’s brands including DC Universe, HBO and Cartoon Network are extremely popular with passionate fans and audiences across this region. With a focus on consumers our goal will be to bring all of these brands and content together in an exciting new world class streaming experience as we move into the future with HBO Max.”

He will report to Johannes Larcher, head of HBO Max International, who commented that with their upcoming launch across Latin America on 29 June and plans for Europe in the future, they turned their sights toward Asia, where they have an incredible opportunity to bring HBO Max to millions of new fans who are just as excited about streaming as their audiences in the United States.

“Amit’s experience launching streaming services in both mature and emerging markets across Southeast Asia and the surrounding region make him the ideal leader to plan and oversee the rollout of HBO Max and its expanded content offering and platform experience,” Larcher said.

The HBO Max team in Southeast Asia will build on the partnership with Clement Schwebig, managing director for India, Southeast Asia, and Korea at WarnerMedia, and members of his team including Magdalene Ew, head of content at HBO Asia; Yasmin Zahid, head of distribution at HBO Asia, as well as Leslie Lee, head of kids for APAC at HBO, in a collaboration that’s pivotal to the success of HBO GO and HBO Max in the region.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Report shows more than half of Filipinos increase watch time of OTT content amid COVID restrictions

Manila, Philippines – The current state brought by the global pandemic has seen a rise in consumption of over the top (OTT) media, particularly in the Philippines, a new report by technology company The Trade Desk stated.

According to the report, 36 million consumers streamed about two billion hours of OTT content per month – making OTT one of the fastest growing media channels in the country. OTT services enable viewers to stream professionally-produced video content over the internet on-demand, from any device including smart TVs, personal computers, or mobile devices.

More than half, or 55 percent, of all Filipino OTT users report streaming more OTT content during the pandemic than before. These habits are likely to persist even in a post-COVID world as 65 percent say they plan to maintain or increase OTT consumption after the pandemic ends.

Mitch Waters, SVP of Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand for The Trade Desk, supports the idea that the pandemic has accelerated consumer trends in making OTT the next big thing in the market of TV media consumption.

“The shift to OTT streaming in the region, and specifically the Philippines where more than half of viewers are turning to OTT than ever before at higher viewing rates than other countries in the region, demonstrates the undeniable inflection point for TV consumption that will most certainly never turn back to the way it used to be,” Waters stated.


In terms of tuning in, 1 in 2 users prefer to tune in between the hours of 8 PM-12 AM, bringing streaming into direct competition with traditional TV for valuable primetime audiences. Filipino viewers are also looking to OTT for their favorite content, with 62 percent tuning in to OTT to watch their favorite programming versus just 54 percent on traditional broadcast.

Furthermore, more than 20 million Filipinos tune in to at least one ad-supported OTT platform, with 55 percent of all OTT viewers between 16-34 years of age, providing a new channel for brands to build relationships with this high-coveted demographic.

“As more young, engaged, and active Filipinos shift to OTT and are willing to view more ads, advertisers have an enormous opportunity in front of them. This provides an opening for advertisers to employ a data-driven approach with an improved advertising experience in a way that’s not possible with traditional TV,” said Waters.