Andy Lau’s Wall Street style TV series Trading Floor secret weapon of Fox+ in Hong Kong
The online streaming service is spending big on local TV series
Fox Networks Group Asia, the multimedia arm of American media giant 21st Century Fox, has launched its video streaming platform Fox+ in Hong Kong – the latest entrant in a market overcrowded with television content providers.
But Zubin Gandevia, president of Fox Networks Group Asia, said on Wednesday that Fox+ has an edge over its competitors because of its high-quality local television productions. Fox+ is already available in Taiwan, the Philippines and Singapore.
A city of 7 million people, Hong Kong is a highly competitive market for both international and local television channels looking to grab a share of the audience. Major players include free-to-air giant Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB), and its younger and more aggressive rivals such as pay-TV service Now TV and its free affiliate Viu TV launched last year, as well as HKTV, an over-the-top service provider that has developed a large young viewer base through its hit TV series such as the political drama The Election. The city’s largest retailer of DVDs and music, HMV Digital, also launched its online video streaming platform in March. It also has to contend with Netflix and Amazon, the online streaming services from the US.
Despite such competition, Gandevia said one of the reasons for his optimism was the local productions Fox+ will be offering, including the highly anticipated Wall Street style financial TV drama Trading Floor, produced by Hong Kong film star Andy Lau’s Focus Television company. Another one is crime thriller series Stained, starring household names Kara Wai Ying-hung, a three-time recipient of Hong Kong Film Award for best actress and Anthony Wong Chau Sang, who won the Hong Kong Film Award for best actor in 1999. Both shows are expected to hit the small screen in early 2018.
“We produced these shows up to Hollywood standards and put large amount of budget in,” said Gandevia. “For us, we don’t care where the content comes from, as long as they are good stories.”
Another reason for him to be positive is Fox+’s syndicated content from the US.
“Even if other video streaming providers could get the same content that we have, sometimes they need to wait one, in some cases even two years, after the content comes to TV channels,” said Gandevia.
With regard to expanding to mainland China, Gandevia said he wished Fox+ could be “everywhere in the world”.
But the pricing of Fox+ could be a worry, analysts said, as it looks a bit more pricey compared to its rivals. Fox+ offers monthly subscription to users of Now TV – its long-time content partner in Hong Kong – starting at HK$88, while non Now TV users would have to pay HK$188 per month after a 30-day free trial. Netflix charges viewers HK$63 to HK$93 per month.