MY: WebTVAsia buys Indonesia’s Layaria, picks stake in S.Korea’s Duble Kick

WebTVAsia promoted Viral Fest Asia 2017 in Bangkok. Image from its Facebook page.

Malaysia-based digital media entertainment firm WebTVAsia has acquired Indonesian online media company Layaria and picked up a majority stake in Korean entertainment agency Duble Kick Entertainment. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

These two deals are part of WebTVAsia’s plans to expand its regional footprint aggressively through collaborations with local partners. The investment in Duble Kick also marked the firm’s entry into its tenth market in Asia.

“Our vision is to be the leader that champions Asia’s media entertainment ecosystem, expected to be the world’s biggest market within a decade. These investments in Indonesia and South Korea will give us significant growth opportunities to tap into two highly competitive markets,” Fred Chong, founder and group chief executive officer, said at the closing of Rise Asia Forum in Bangkok.

Layaria, founded in 2011 by CEO Dennis Adishwara, has over 800 top creators across major cities including Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and Yogyakarta. After the acquisition, it is poised to hit 25x viewership growth on its LayariaTV channel by 2019, he said.

For its strategic investment in Duble Kick, WebTVAsia would help promote and commercialise top Korean artistes and original content through its regional network of 1,000 digital channels.

Duble Kick, spearheaded by celebrity K-Pop producers Park Jang Geun and Ham Joon Seok, has brought out 77 albums with famous names such as T-ARA, SISTAR, KARA, BAP and Momoland.

In an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, Chong said the digital media entertainment industry in Asia is segmented and based on each country’s culture. He, therefore, sees an opportunity to forge collaborations and tap into the digital media entertainment opportunities across Asia.

WebTVAsia started to expand outside Malaysia four years ago with its collaboration with Youku Tudou, China’s YouTube. The firm currently has 1.5 billion views a month, rapidly surging from 1 million views a month four years ago. By the end of this year, the company aims to cross 2 billion views a month.

“This is why I believe there is a huge opportunity in Asia that is not being tapped by mainstream or traditional media entertainment companies. But the key word is collaboration. If you are just in Thailand or Taiwan or Malaysia, you will never achieve such number until you combine the whole Asia together,” he said.

Chong said he is working on other deals including partnering with large corporations, TV stations, radio stations, filmmakers and advertisers to promote their brands, content, artists and songs through WebTVAsia’s channels.

He also plans to launch WebTVAsia’s first TV platform, called LUVE, in Thailand this month.

“Because YouTube advertising cannot pay as much as TV advertising, we decide to launch LUVE to surpass the advertising returns from TV. Then, digital creators can make much higher quality content to please audience in return. We will bring together the best of Asian digital creators and content under one platform,” he added.

Last year, WebTVAsia acquired a major stake in Vietnam’s METUB Network to bolster its footprint in Vietnam. India and the Philippines are the firm’s next destinations, Chong added.

Also read: EXCLUSIVE: WebTVAsia picks major stake in Vietnam’s METUB

E-commerce giant Alibaba offers $3.5b to buy all of ‘China’s YouTube’

HK-based AID Partners to buy 50.01% in YouTube partner network any.TV for $60m