William Hu (left), Managing Director of Huawei Consumer Business Group, Middle East and Africa Eco Development and Operation, and Rohit D'silva, Chief Business Officer for the Middle East and South Africa at Viu, sign the partnership agreement Image Credit: Supplied

In recent years, the entertainment industry has reinvented itself. Undoubtedly, the most significant change is that audiovisual content consumption is no longer restricted to conventional devices such as TVs. Nowadays, we even opt to watch movie premieres on our smartphones rather than in a traditional cinema. Due to their growing youth population, Middle Eastern and African (MEA) countries are right at the forefront of this trend.

As a leading tech player in the MEA, Huawei is determined to take the mobile entertainment experience to the next level. For this reason, the company recently partnered with Viu, one of the region’s leading over-the-top (OTT) video streaming providers. Operating in 16 markets with both an ad-supported and a paid membership tier, Viu is an online streaming service that delivers premium content on demand and through live streaming in exceptional HD quality. Under the Viu Original initiative, the platform has already produced more than 42 Saudi, Emirati and pan-Arab star-studded shows that have grabbed popular attention.

Here Rohit D'silva, Chief Business Officer for the Middle East and South Africa, Viu, shares some key insights into this new collaboration.

What were the primary drivers behind Viu's decision to partner with Huawei, including the integration of Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) and the deployment of the Petal Ads solution?

In terms of customers, Huawei and Viu are on the same page. We see Viu as a customer-centric company, and Huawei strives to provide the best available experiences to all Huawei device users. This was the first thing that caught our interest. Aside from our common philosophy and values, integrating Huawei Mobile Services was the next logical step for us for a number of reasons.

We wanted to make our app available on AppGallery, which is currently one of the top three app marketplaces in the world, and we wanted to provide Huawei users with seamless, easy access to our vast, high-quality, and diversified content library. Of course, Huawei is one of the world's largest smartphone manufacturers, with over 730 million monthly active users. As you understand, we are talking about a massive new audience for us, and the opportunity to get the Viu app on millions of new smartphone home screens could not be ignored.

Petal Ads is another aspect of our partnership with Huawei. The company’s programmatic advertising platform endows ads with premium attributes and seamless precision, for a maximum effect. As a result, the platform has the potential to help our business further expand across the MEA.

How long have you been working with the HMS, AppGallery, and Petal Ads teams, and what has your experience been so far?

We have been working closely with Huawei's teams of experts since 2019 and have had an amazing experience up to this point. Their breadth of knowledge, support and assistance in resolving even the slightest difficulty is unrivalled. Using the robust HMS Core Open Capabilities, the Viu app was ready for distribution in AppGallery in record time, with phenomenal performance that enhanced the user experience.

Image Credit: Supplied

Furthermore, Huawei prioritises app monetisation like IAP, a crucial feature for multiple payment methods, as well as the video business DRM (Digital Rights Management), which is a method of preventing unauthorised use and piracy of digital content ¬- and it has become a requirement for many streaming video platforms supported by Huawei ecosystem as more premium content is delivered via the public Internet, which is an important factor.

We have implemented the ads capabilities provided by Huawei's CPA bidding for optimising the cost per activation. Additionally, we have used DMP to conduct AB test in order to explore the value of different segments and target high conversion users. The last year has seen a 47 per cent growth on the Huawei’s ecosystem and ads platform.

What do you anticipate from the Huawei partnership from a business standpoint?

By jumping on the constantly evolving HMS bandwagon, we believe that Viu will eventually reach a larger audience, with a proven high level of engagement. Notably, as part of our partnership, a Viu subscription is now bundled with Huawei devices, enabling Huawei users to enjoy up to six months of free Viu Premium subscription of content on demand and live streaming in exceptional HD quality, when purchasing from selected newly launched Huawei devices like the futuristic tech flagship Huawei Mate50 Pro, equipped with a variety of cutting-edge features and technologies.

Since Viu has implemented HMS integration, we have been able to work with the entire universe of Huawei devices, including legacy models and new HMS devices.

Customer satisfaction is key to our platform’s success; hence, we are confident that the elevated experience provided by Huawei smartphones and tablets, with their excellent displays, thrilling audio quality, and user-friendly interface, is best suited to Viu's premium content.

In addition, by harnessing the power of Petal Ads, we anticipate connecting with our target audience and facilitating substantial business growth in the MEA region. Based on our initial experience, I must say that Petal Ads delivers remarkable results.

Should we expect more innovative initiatives from this collaboration in the near future?

We are strengthening our collaboration and driving growth through joint campaigns, product seeding in Viu original content, and bundle promotions. We also aim to further innovate by bringing the Viu app to Huawei smart TVs, so Viu content will be accessible on a variety of devices. What I can say is that this new partnership is off to a fantastic start, and that we are impressed with the technological supremacy of Huawei's smart ecosystem, along with the company’s outstanding support. Customers are at the heart of everything we do at Viu, and this is something we share with Huawei. Therefore, we are committed to bringing our vision of the future of mobile entertainment to life by strengthening our partnership and incorporating further cutting-edge technologies.