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France’s Canal+ Buying Strategic Minority Stake in Viu, Successful Asian Streamer

Courtesy of Janice Lee

French pay-TV giant Canal+ is to take a significant minority stake in successful Asian streaming firm Viu. It could end up becoming its majority owner.

Viu, a start-up backed by Hong Kong’s PCCW, currently operates with a fremium model in 16 territories in Asia and the Middle East. It said that it is hatching a “strategic partnership” with Canal+ in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Canal+ is to pay $200 million for an initial 26.1% stake in Viu and will make a total staggered investment of $300 million. Beyond that, Canal+ has an option to increase its stake to 51%.

Viu currently claims over 66 million monthly active users (MAU) and 12 million paid subscribers. Within the narrower Southeast Asian region, it ranks as the top video streaming platform in terms of MAU and second, behind Disney+, in terms of subscribers and streaming minutes amongst both global and regional players.

In 2022, Viu recorded over $250 million in revenue, representing a growth of 36% year over year.

“This new strategic partnership will enable the further growth of Viu, leveraging the global strength and expertise of Canal+ through various initiatives including collaboration on premium productions and content creation, expansion of global market reach for Viu, and continual user experience improvement. The partnership will allow Canal+ to take a major step in developing Asia as its next growth engine,” the two companies explained. Canal+ already has limited operations in Myanmar and Vietnam.

“Canal+ already has leading market positions in Europe and Africa. We are now looking forward to developing Asia as an additional growth engine for the group. Our investment in Viu is a major step towards achieving this goal. Viu is already a business with scale, with its hybrid AVOD and SVOD business model and focus on local content, it has all the ingredients to deliver superior growth and continue to be a leading service in the region and beyond,” said Canal+ CEO Maxime Saada.

“We are very pleased to embark on a partnership with CANAL+ to take Viu to the next level with the prospect of global synergies coming from both CANAL+ and PCCW. With Viu having established its leadership as a pan-regional streaming service, we believe this is the right time to introduce a strategic partner into the business that would see us furthering our global expansion and growth by unleashing the potential of the Viu business at scale and to create further value for our shareholders,” said Susanna Hui, PCCW acting group MD and group CFO.

Variety's Patrick Frater contributed to this post.

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