Insight: Rakuten Advertising’s Cyprus Malinao on connected TV and what separates Viki from other OTT platforms

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – With cinemas in the Philippines being closed for more than a year now because of the global pandemic, Filipinos have been more engaged than ever in looking for alternative means of entertainment. Even television shows that they’ve traditionally enjoyed on broadcast networks since the 1950s have been affected, and not just because the giant that is ABS-CBN was shut down last year. 

In this era of connected TV and streaming services, more and more Filipinos are turning to watching shows and motion pictures on smart TVs and mobile devices even as they’re stuck at home because of the seemingly never-ending quarantine. In an exclusive interview with adobo magazine, Cyprus Malinao, Senior Client Development Manager for Rakuten Advertising, shares some of his insights on this rising phenomenon and how advertisers can talk about their brands on these rising platforms. 

Malinao notes that while traditional TV is still big for brands and advertisers, the advent of the internet allowed users to have access to series in the US or Korean TV shows and movies. Citing series from Taiwan like Boys Over Flowers and Meteor Garden from the late 90s-early 00s, “So, taking that consideration, connected TV to have this connection or to have this access to a wide array of TV series from the West, or from Japan, Korea, or China,” he says.


“Connected TV is a by-product of OTT platforms like Netflix, AppleTV, iFlix, and others,” he adds. “With the closure of ABS-CBN, there was a paradigm shift for advertisers and clients to consider other formats or other channels or shift their marketing budgets to connected TV. Connected TV allows advertisers to segment their users to look at demographics and interests.”

As a former media planner himself, Malinao is quite familiar with the traditional ways that agencies would buy advertising spots on shows that were highly-rated or during particular times of the day. “OTT in general goes beyond that,” he points out. “So, it tailors ads to the audience demographics or interests. it still has that concept of seeing an ad before the start of the show or seeing an ad in the middle while watching that show, but it allows advertisers to have a bit of a deeper look of their target audience.”

One of those streaming services that Malinao points out is backed by Rakuten itself, and it is the Asian entertainment platform that is Viki. “Viki has different targeting capabilities that allows brands to be more tailored when it comes to targeting their users,” he notes. “So if I am, for example, a lifestyle fashion brand and I want to target users who are more females, maybe I want to target content or genres that are more female-skewed. That might mean more drama or romantic comedy or romance-related type of content in the Philippines. Viki also allows users or brands to target users based on key cities.”

“We know for a fact that Globe Telecom would be stronger in key cities like Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao,” he gives as an example. “Then I want to target those key cities through geo-targeting. So connected TV really goes beyond just spraying and praying. It allows brands to be right, to be more targeted, and to be more tailored, to be able to deliver the message and to create, to deliver greater impact across their advertising campaigns.”


“Viki houses thousands of Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese, and Japanese TV dramas, movies, and TV series,” Malinao bares. “Viki is available across multiple platforms. Aside from it being having an ad-free type of video-on-demand or ad-free subscription, It allows users to have access to these thousands of libraries through the touch of their smartphones, through their desktop, or through connected TV.”

“One of the things that we’re proud of that we boast of with Viki is that we have a very connected audience,” he bares. “So connected in a sense that they are users of their smartphones, they watch it on the desktop, and they watch it on connected TV. On top of that, they are very socially active so on the platform itself, it allows users to leave comments about the TV show, live ratings, chat with their fellow watchers, or even do the subtitles for us on the platform. We have about 200 languages, and all of these are translated for us by our avid fans, by our users.”

With more and more content going on streaming services, the words “content is king” have never been truer. And with a library resplendent in shows and movies from across Asia, what perhaps helps Viki stand apart from its competitors is the interactivity that it allows. With its users able to leave comments and interact with other members of the audience, there is a sense of community among Viki users even as they share their affinity for the series and movies that they enjoy using their own devices. Since leaving our homes continues to be a difficult proposition, this feature of Viki can actually relieve some anxieties that have been built up over the past year.

Partner with adobo Magazine

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