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Viacom Bows Paramount Asia Rollout

Viacom’s four-year-old Paramount Channel continues its global rollout with its first carriage deal in Asia, on Thai pay-TV service CTH.

The library movie channel will launch as an ad-supported HD linear offering on CTH’s satellite and OTT platforms in May, as part of a bigger pact that includes local ad sales and, as of last month, a new licensing deal for MTV Thailand.

The rollout follows Paramount’s entry into Latin America in late 2014, after the channel made its debut in Europe in 2012.

In Thailand, the new channels complement CTH’s gameplan, which is anchored around more for families to broaden the operator's appeal and fortify its pay-TV portfolio. The company burst onto the market three years ago, with an arguably too-big cheque for Premier League football.

CTH is Thailand’s second-biggest pay-TV service, but trails market leader TrueVisions, which has a strong portfolio of international and in-house channels.

Regional broadcaster BeIn Sports – a new entrant in Asia – has scooped the next three EPL seasons for Thailand.

At the same time, both CTH and TrueVisions face fierce pricing pressure from a plethora of free satellite and DTT alternatives alongside creeping encroachment from SVOD and ad-supported online video, all heightening demand for local and international content across multiple genres.

 A Basic Tier Proposition

Viacom executives, meanwhile, anticipate more deals for Paramount in the coming months.

The channel could find traction among operators looking to enhance their basic packs with a movie offering in rising pay-TV markets such as the Philippines and Indonesia.

Paramount might also prove useful to incumbent platforms in more mature Asian markets, should they opt to create cheaper skinny packs as a bulwark against low-priced OTT services, following the likes of Foxtel in Australia and Sky in the UK.

Paramount’s brand recognition and cachet could be low among consumers in some Asian markets however, while much will depend on the films on offer.

The channel includes some well-known movies, ranging from The Godfather to Forrest Gump to Star Trek to Dream Girls, but, unlike premium movie channels, relies on older titles from a single library.

In Asia, Paramount Channel will be led by Viacom SVP Paras Sharma, alongside his existing remit covering MTV, Comedy Central and digital media.

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