As of January 2020, it was recorded that there were 68.17 million internet users alone in Vietnam, which means that the total number of internet users between 2019 and 2020 increased by a whopping 6.2 million (+10.0%) across the nation. This makes Vietnam a prime market for OTT (over-the-top) businesses offering streaming media services directly to viewers via the internet.
As the domestic market is becoming much more active due to the arrival of OTT providers from international rivals like China and the US, Vietnam’s domestic OTT providers like K+ (with App K+), one of Vietnam's best premium pay TV brands, are bracing themselves for a challenge.
We ask Trinh Thi Thuy Lien, K+ Channels & Content Director, about the steps her company is taking to set themselves apart from the competition and the challenges OTT businesses in Vietnam are facing.
In the nearly 10 years you’ve been with K +, how has Vietnam’s OTT landscape changed?
In the past, local audiences couldn't really tell the difference between cable and OTT television platforms. This changed when K + licensed streaming rights for all top soccer tournaments in the world to be broadcast exclusively on K +. That’s when they began to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts behind pay and broadcast TV.
Nearly a decade has passed since then, and as pay TV has become a familiar feature, the behavior of television viewers has changed. Gone are the days of turning on the TV and just passively watching whatever show happened to be playing. Today, audiences want to be in control.
Thus, pay TV platforms are increasingly offering "thematic" experiences where content is highly specialized instead of serving a mix of genres such as movies, music, game shows, news, etc on the same channel. Take K + channel packages, for example.
K + 1: A leading movies channel broadcasting Vietnamese feature films shortly after their cinema runs, as well as international blockbusters, premium American TV dramas, award ceremonies and other quality entertainment content.
K + PM (The Strong): The No. 1 sports channel with the world's top football matches from the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League etc.
K + PC (Style): Sports channel No. 2 with diverse sports content such as golf (PGA), racing (Indy Car, World Rally Championship), Tennis (ATP) and martial arts (MMA Cage Warrior, Lethwei etc) tournaments and competitions.
K + NS (Rhythm of Life): A comprehensive entertainment channel for the whole family with Asian historical and modern dramas, weekend sports, kids-friendly content etc.
The audience not only gets to choose their preferred content, but they are also the ones deciding when to watch it and on what device to consume that content. And if they want to watch previous episodes, we have an app for that.
Recently K + updated the app. What does this step mean for K +?
As trends change, we not merely follow the audience but try to anticipate what might arise next. The update of App K + will help us serve these new habits while offering utmost convenience.
App K + will be key to helping K + TV diversify its customer base, affirm its position as the leading pay TV brand in Vietnam, as well as bringing quality entertainment content to every Vietnamese family.
In addition to offering a modern, eye-catching interface, App K + has advanced features such as calendar reminders for broadcasts, a review feature so you don't miss your favorite shows, and an option to preview broadcast schedules 7 days in advance — making the experience smoother and more enjoyable than ever.
With OTT services like Netflix taking the world by storm, how can K + stand up to competition?
The emergence of multinational OTT platforms like Netflix definitely poses a threat to the traditional TV infrastructure around the world. But this fierce competition is also an opportunity for the industry to reinvent itself, as it is driving innovation in terms of technology and content strategy.
The unprecedented popularity of Netflix Original Series has demonstrated the power of exclusive quality content. However, Netflix's "limitation" in markets like Vietnam is its inability to produce localized content. In our case, on the other hand, as an established brand based in Vietnam targeting the local market, our content is fully localized.
To give you an example, since 2015, K + has been broadcasting exclusive football content and cooperating with film studios to ensure local and international films are available on our platform no later than 3-4 months after cinema releases. K + subscribers can also access the latest Asian dramas aired at the same time as in the host country. We are also working on high-quality original series right now. All this makes K + a top choice for cinema and sports lovers in Vietnam.
Our readers are curious about the content creators behind the K + department. Who are they?
We have more than 70 members working in our Content Department across various teams: sports, production, creative, programming, acquisition etc. Last year, K + creative team won an award in the Best Promo - Trailer category at Asian Academy Creative Awards.
What’s most exciting and challenging about working in the K + content department?
The department’s motto is "Talk content, breathe content". As content creators, having access to exclusive sources and coming up with fresh ideas every day is a blessing. We watch content, talk about it, and stay updated on the latest domestic and international trends.
However, with creativity comes pressure. Something we always ask ourselves is "how do I create better content today than yesterday?" We also understand that in order to be creative and productive, we need to be in top physical and mental shape. So I always encourage my associates to work hard, but to also not forget to enjoy life.
Can you share what K + 's current and upcoming content production plans are?
Currently, we are focusing on sports content, such as programs built around sports tournaments featuring both professional in-house commentators and the winners of our reality show “The Commentator Hunt” where young people with the passion and talent train to become top football commentators in Vietnam. We are also working with film producers and directors to produce our premium TV series, in line with a global trend for such content.
K + is considered a leading premium pay TV service in Vietnam, with unique and exclusive content, HD quality and rich infrastructure. In addition to providing digital satellite TV services, recently, K + updated the K + App. With an enhanced user-friendly interface, K + App allows audiences to watch more than 100 channels, movies, entertainment programs, and sports on demand online, as well as offering features such as reminders for broadcasts, watch-backs and a 7-day preview schedule. App K + can be used on multiple platforms including smartphones and tablets and is provided free of charge to the subscribers of the satellite TV and K + TV BOX package. App K + comes with five flexible subscription options with prices starting from VND 15,000 / month (choice of Discover, Connect, VOD, Sports and Complete packages). Download K + App for free from the app store on your mobile device, create an account with just your phone number in less than 30 seconds and get immersed in a universe of limitless entertainment.
Customers can download the new App K + at: