BEC World, Tencent Video strengthen content ties; BEC/Ch3 original drama to stream on WeTV Thailand, Ch3+ and Tencent Video

Thai media outfit BEC World and mainland Chinese streaming platform, Tencent-owned WeTV, have tied up to distribute long-form Thai drama in Thailand and on Tencent Video in China in 2020. 

The new deal is part of WeTV’s aggressive audience-growth ambitions in Thailand for this year and follows strong take up of BEC World’s dramas across the region in 2019. 

WeTV Thailand country manager, Kanokporn Prachayaset, said the target was a 400% increase in consumption for Thai drama on the platform in Thailand by the end of the year.  

The Tencent Video/WeTV agreement, announced in Bangkok on Monday (13 Feb), involves an undisclosed number of titles commissioned/produced by BEC World’s terrestrial broadcast station, Thai TV Ch3. 

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. 

Ch3’s 2020 drama line-up will be available on WeTV Thailand from this month, two hours after the terrestrial broadcast. The shows will also stream on BEC World’s  newly rebranded Ch3+ streaming app. 

The list of exclusive titles for Tencent Video – including series that will simulcast in Thailand and China – is still being finalised. 

Company bosses said the new alliance is their response “to strong demand from online audiences across both Thailand and China for Ch3 drama content”. 

BECi’s managing director, Warut Leeruangsakul, says the company’s own streaming service, Ch3+, will continue to air Ch3 drama.    

But, he adds, “as the leader in Thai drama content, we must be where our audiences are at”.   

“While Ch3+ will continue to serve as our own platform to engage our core user base, we should also be platform agnostic to reach our full audience potential,” he says. 

He adds that WeTV’s base is growing in Thailand, and that the streamer is an “important OTT partner to achieve this goal”. 

WeTV launched in Thailand in 2019 with a slate from Tencent Penguin Pictures, including The Untamed, and about 200 Chinese series.  

WeTV Thailand’s country manager, Kanokporn Prachayaset, says the expansion beyond Chinese content in Thailand has only just started. 

“We will continue to introduce local content from our leading local partners to fulfil our users’ needs,” she says. 

BEC World drama has already chalked up audience successes in China. 

The debut simulcast – The Crown Princess – on Tencent Video, has been viewed more than 280 million times and ranks in the top five list of most-viewed Thai content on the platform, according to BEC’s chief commercial officer, Ron Kamnuanthip. 

Tencent Video has about 550 million monthly active users. WeTV engagement has not been confirmed. 

The new alliance also includes rights to Ch3 drama for WeTV territories in other parts of Asia. Details are not immediately available.

BEC World’s expanded China footprint comes on top of the best year in memory for Thai content licensing around the region. 

Deals brokered by licensing partner, JKN Global Media, include the first Thai drama to air on free-to-air terrestrial television in Malaysia, as well as the first Thai dramas licensed for free-TV in Indonesia in a deal with Rajawali TV (RTV).   

In another deal sealed by JKN late last year, Korean channels operator TRA Media picked up rights to eight Thai drama titles for its two cable channels – Smile Plus (entertainment) and TVA Plus (Asian drama channel). The agreement marked BEC World’s debut in the Korean market. 

JKN Global Media reported a 127% increase in revenue from international sales of programme rights for the first nine months of 2019, driven largely by its BEC World licensing arrangement.  

This article was originally published in ContentAsia's 13 Jan 2020 eNewsletter