Thailand's New Attraction
Mediaplex makes hay while the sun shines on BL series
Mediaplex International, Thailand’s avant-garde entertainment service provider in premium global content, kicked off 2021 with 8 originals motivated by copro deals. This manoeuvring reflects the company’s intentions to expand their network internationally, as originals, according to Founder of the Group, Joe Suteestarpon, has proven itself locally. This has thus given confidence that their new direction will also do well on an international level.
“It's not considered to be a change in our business model, as originally, Mediaplex has already been a content distributor, where we provide international content to local partners,” noted Joe. “This time, it's the other way around; we distribute our originals across international markets.”
Joe further explained that their main goal is to make revenue domestically, whereas expanding overseas will be pursued through international distribution. “We believe international market has needs, especially the demand for BL series,” Joe stressed, noting that this new series category is not only popular in Thailand, but has also been trending worldwide.
Enter You're My Sky, a Boy Love (BL) series based on a best-selling novel. The story focuses on the realm of sports in university life. For Joe, the production of this series made being local an advantage. “We easily connected with a lot of talents, from directors, writers, producers and investors, right from the start. We kicked off on this BL series, as it is trending now in Thailand and a number of countries around the region.
“The Thai BL trend went up to number 1 on the global trend list on Twitter countless of times, engaging users from all around the world. It easily engages female millennials, mostly from Asia, Europe and America,” Joe expounded.
According to Joe, the author was brought on board as one of the script consultants to make sure the mood and tone of the series remained true to the fans. “We co-produced this series with World Y Entertainment, Mr. Junior,” Joe noted. “Moving forward, we will produce eight (8) BL series this year, which we are currently discussing will local copros. As well, we are open for international co-production.”
Mediaplex’s copro expansion will be treated separately from the company’s existing investments since the nature of copros involves different partners and investors. “Some of the originals might not be on our OTT; I will not be the only one to make such calls. It will involve all who are part of the project.”
On Thai OTT
It is still very early days for this type of series, yet it bodes well as a move in the right direction.
“From a user perspective, it is the playoff between content and pricing. Lowering down the price is not the key to success since it depends on your content offering,” Joe explained. “Unique content offering is the key to get traction, and the quality of it will get people subscribed.
“OTT is all about managing the cost of user acquisition and content acquisition, and which churn rate strategy will generate a steady income. Studios and telcos are halfway in the ecosystem, hardly investing in neither user (telcos) nor content acquisition (studios).
“So, we will see more studios entering the OTT business with their own originals, or telcos offering existing users with new content bundles.”
Joe understands that the OTT industry in Thailand has a long way to go, burning cash every day. “New Asian streamers have to pay their dues to enter this streaming war with the hope of making money one day,” Joe revealed.
“When we decided to enter into production, we were well prepared, but we still faced a myriad challenges. Besides that, we needed to also think about our audiences and local partners. I think right now, the greatest challenge would be to manage our own IPs locally and internationally, maximizing their true potential.”
"BL series is not LGBTQ+. According to data, BL creates engagement with the female imagination on “moments” within the series. It continues to prove success, monitoring how the Fandom reacts to such “moments” on their social platforms, specifically on Twitter, which pushed this trend to the number 1 spot on the app.
In addition, You’re My Sky’s casting came attached with local fanbase and followers, so we believe the series will be successful here, with a potential to be equally triumphant internationally."
- Joe Suteestarpon, Founder, Mediaplex Group, on the making of You’re My Sky