Channel distributor Multi Channels Asia is seeking a bigger on-ground presence in fragmented TV markets in South and Southeast Asia.
Having announced a joint venture in Vietnam earlier this month, company MD Gregg Creevey is pursuing similar partnerships in Indonesia, India and Thailand.
“It has always been our plan to have an umbrella, regional presence, and then to create selected in-country verticals in other markets,” Creevey explains.
A second local operation could open for business later this year, he adds.
Multi Channels Asia, which operates Outdoor Channel and Havoc 247 under license, also oversees distribution in Asia and the Pacific for six other channels: Bloomberg Television, ITV Choice, Motorvision, Ginx, 3D The Channel and NDTV.
In Vietnam, these channels will now be handled by Multi Channels Vietnam, a tie-up with domestic content distributor Thaole Entertainment.
Brought on to offer local market expertise, Thaole will advise and make joint decisions with Multi Channels Asia.
Profitability for the new venture will be evaluated on a channel-specific basis.
In addition to Bloomberg TV, already distributed by Thaole, Multi Channels Vietnam is also building carriage for Outdoor Channel, which has secured a landing license.
Next up will be Motorvision, which Creevey hopes will connect with aspirational audiences in Vietnam.
'A very long rainbow'
Local ad sales will be the core revenue driver in the long term, with subscriber fees traded for broad reach.
“There is an advertising opportunity in Vietnam, although that pot of gold is at the end of a very long rainbow,” Creevey tells Media Business Asia.
“Meaningful advertising revenue is two to three years off,” he adds.
Rules requiring foreign content to be vetted by a local partner have added another layer of complexity to a lengthy process of acquiring a content license in Vietnam.
However, these barriers are overshadowed by the size and growth potential of a market which has more than 20 million TV homes.
Less than a quarter of these subscribe to pay-TV, but penetration expected to grow at a 7.9% compound annual growth rate from 2012 to 2017 according to industry analysts Media Partners Asia, publisher of Media Business Asia.