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Canal Plus Increases Stake in Asian Streamer Viu to 30% – Global Bulletin

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UPPING THE ANTE

France’s Canal+ Group said that it has increased its stake in multi-territory Asian streaming platform Viu to 30%.

“This additional investment underlines the confidence that Canal+ has in Viu and its teams. It also highlights the determination of Canal+ to make Asia its next growth vector, through its strategic partnership with PCCW, and through an acceleration of growth at Viu, a premium streaming service present in Asia, the Middle East and South Asfrica,” the French group said in a statement. Additionally, it said that its investment in Viu now amounted to some $300 million and that it retains an option to increase its stake to 50%.

In June last year, Canal+ announced that it was to pay $200 million for an initial 26.1% stake in Viu and that it would make a total staggered investment of $300 million.

In results published on Friday, PCCW said: “Viu saw 27% growth in revenue in2023 […] propelled by a double-digit rise in both its subscription and advertising revenue. During the year, Viu’s paid subscribers increased by 10% to 13.4 million which, coupled with pricing increases in selected markets, resulted in a 32% surge in its subscription revenue.” Its advertising revenue rose by 15%. Its subscriber numbers stood at 62.4 million at the end of 2023.

ANN HUI’S RHAPSODY

Cheng Cheng Films has set a May to July theatrical release for a 4K restored version of “July Rhapsody,” directed by Hong Kong’s Ann Hui. The director was this month part of the main competition jury at the Berlin Film Festival. A VOD and vide release will follow in the fall.

The 2002 film was scripted by Ivy Ho (“Comrades: Almost a Love Story”) and features the final performance of Cantopop icon Anita Mui (“Rouge,” “Rumble in the Bronx”) and the acting debut of Karena Lam, the ambassador of Hong Kong International Film Festival 2024.

O4 x TBS x INDIA

Hong Kong-based TV rights distributor O4 Media has significantly expanded its Japanese content portfolio, through an exclusive deal with Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS). Under the deal, O4 Media will represent multiple premium scripted formats from TBS, available for India. These include “My Family,” “Dearest” and “Eye Love You.” This deal also gives O4 Media priority access to the latest titles from TBS.

EVER AFTRS

Filmmaker and writer Tracey Rigney, a Wotjobaluk and Ngarrindjeri woman, has been announced as the artist-in-residence for 2024 at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS). Rigney began her career in the theatre as a playwright with the play “Belonging.” She went on to write more plays before transitioning to film and TV. Her works include documentary and short films “Endangered,” “Abalone,” “Man Real” and “Elders” and segments of the feature length “We Are Still Here.” She directed Steven Oliver’s web series “A Chance Affair” and has written for TV on “The Warriors.”

With more than 20 years’ experience, Rigney is preparing to start the next phase of her entrepreneurial life and by creating slates and opportunities through her newly formed company, Pink Lake Creative. She is also currently writing her debut feature film “Everywhen,” which is set in her mother’s country. 

HOWARD HEARD

Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind,” “Apollo 13”) and one of his long-time producing partners Bill Connor (“Life of Pi,” “Thirteen Lives”) have been set as guest speakers at the Screen Forever conference organized by Screen Producers Australia. Their live, online session will be moderated by Gold Coast-based producer and Bazmark’s MD Schuyler Weiss (“Elvis,” “Faraway Downs”), discussing how their producing partnership came to be, projects they have collaborated on and Australia as a destination for international productions.

Howard has shot two films in Australia: 2022’s “Thirteen Lives,” and the unreleased “Eden,” which stars Sydney Sweeney, Vanessa Kirby, Ana de Armas, Jude Law, Daniel Bruhl and Richard Roxburgh.