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HMV Digital China launches video streaming

Music and DVD retailer HMV Digital China Group has launched a bilingual video-streaming platform, HMVOD.

This puts it in direct competition with Netflix and other streaming service providers in Hong Kong.

HMV, which has been active in Hong Kong for 22 years as a retailer, says the site offers about 1500 movies. It hopes to have about 5000 by next year, with content ranging from Hong Kong productions to Hollywood features.

Hong Kong does not have enough cinema screens to meet the needs of local and overseas film distribution, says chairman Stephen Shiu, and HMVOD will offer more “genuine Hong Kong” movies.
While the platform is “quite similar” to Netflix, it has Cantonese content, says Shiu. It supports both English and traditional Chinese.

Hong Kong has four major video-on-demand providers, US-based Netflix, Mainland China’s LeEco, TVB’s My Super TV and PCCW’s ViuTV.

HMV’s business in Hong Kong has changed hands a couple of times over the past decade. When the British retailer filed for bankruptcy in January 2013, Hong Kong buyout firm AID Partners took over its Hong Kong and Singaporean arms as well as the rights to develop the brand on the mainland and in Taiwan and Macau.

Less than three years later, AID Partners transferred a 82 per cent stake in HMV to Hong Kong-listed entertainment firm China 3D Digital, controlled by Shiu, a Hong Kong film veteran, for HK$408 million.

With an international marque in its stable, China 3D Digital renamed itself HMV Digital China. When announcing the deal last March, Shiu said a buyout of HMV would add value to its film and artist management business.

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