In some ways, coming to Asia was a no-brainer for Dutch content creators Zoomin.TV.
As a company that produces more than 400 short video stories every day, through a network of more than 3,000 video journalists, Zoomin boasts a significant footprint in online content production.
Its headquarters in Amsterdam hosts native speakers of 18 languages, who receive and localise content for numerous markets, and then push it back out through the company's multi-channel network.
Zoomin is geared toward producing high-quality, snackable content that can be consumed on the move. Which is exactly why building its presence in Asia is a necessary next step.
“Here we have no legacy, so we come to the market with a clean story,” says founder Bram Bloemberg. “Asian consumers have jumped straight into the new digital or mobile world, which fits very well with us.”
As a company used to distributing its content across multiple platforms, Zoomin says the diversity of Asia’s digital landscape means tremendous opportunity in several markets. The key is where to start.
“We’re pretty sure about Indonesia, and the Philippines is a good second," Eric Snelleman, Zoomin APAC managing director, formerly of GroupM in Hong Kong, tells Campaign Asia-Pacific. "After that China, Thailand and Vietnam; those will be our focus markets, and of course Singapore as the regional hub.”
Zoomin’s China operations are already up and running, with a five-person team in Beijing that, crucially, has a content-production license.
“We like play according to the local rules,” Bloemberg says. “We like to partner, not like the traditional US companies that come into a market and basically want to take the money.
“To a certain extent that might work, but we feel much more comfortable partnering with local players and applying local habits. We have contracts in China with Youku, Weibo and others. That’s how we’re engaging.”
High video engagement and CPM levels are obviously key to Zoomin’s Asia strategy, but Bloemberg says the brand is happy to learn on its feet in the region and adapt to local markets accordingly.
“The level of content and a market’s potential go hand in hand,” he explains. “If there’s a video-centric environment in a country already, it’s easier to get local video producers. But at the same time, there’s an audience building up, which is commercially interesting. Sometimes you need a breakthrough on one of the two, and it usually starts with content.”
In that department, Zoomin is already well-stocked. Currently the company has more than 150 video journalists in Asia, and has partnered with business development firm AccelerAsia to boost its operations and content network.
“We have lots of content that originates from this region already, which kind of already makes us a local player,” Bloemberg says.
Snelleman (pictured below) says the time is ripe for Zoomin in Asia because the company is built on high-quality video content, of the type he believes still isn’t widely available in Asia.
“There’s so much content out there, people get lost,” he says. “Of course the traditional publishers are all trying to create content that resonates, but not in the way that we do it. It’s a difficult job. We also have a huge amount of content to enter the market with.”
Bloemberg adds that Zoomin’s Gen Z-focused content is a key point of difference in Asia, particularly as he sees the video market progressing more into native or branded content to engage the next generation of consumers.
“Producing content is not unique, but producing content that creates audiences, that’s a different ball game,” he says. “We’ve seen a few companies in Asia pursue the MCN/MPN model, with not that many successes.”
Zoomin’s marketing strategy for Asia is still being worked out, Snelleman says, but the brand is keen to make its own presence more known, as well as its content.
“We’ve had more of a B2B approach; before it was basically supplying publishers with content,” he says. “Now we want Zoomin to be more of a recognisable brand. So we need to build on that and invest.
“A good thing for getting into Asia was refocusing our content DNA over the past few months. We see it now as referring to that Gen Z attitude; we want to inspire and have a positive message, and in that way be recognisable as Zoomin.”
Video continues to be the medium of the moment in Asia, and with connectivity only set to improve across many emerging markets, a proven video content creator like Zoomin sees much potential in the region’s fertile digital economy.
“We all started with content, but then it became ad network heavy, then we moved to the MCN world, and now we’re back to content,” Bloemberg says. “That’s good for us because we always stayed a content company.”