Fans of Marvel, rejoice! Three new Marvel titles – Inhumans, Runaways and Cloak & Dagger – will premiere on the same day as the United States exclusively on local video streaming service, tonton.
The first three episodes of Inhumans is now available on tonton while the remaining episodes can be streamed thereafter every Sunday.
“A lot of people are excited to see Black Bolt. Marvel fans see him as one of the most powerful superheroes. He just opens his mouth and he can kill people,” tonton general manager Loh Ben Jern enthuses.
Black Bolt (Anson Mount), who can inflict destruction with just the sound of his voice, is the ruler of a race of superhumans called Inhumans, living in a city on the moon, in the eight-episode series. But things get complicated when the king’s brother Maximus (Iwan Rheon) plots to take over his throne.
Meanwhile, Runaways, a 10-episode series about a group of teenagers running away from their supervillain parents, is set to premiere in November. Cloak & Dagger, which sees two teenagers falling in love and acquiring superpowers, will be out next year.
Airin Zainul, Media Prima’s director of tonton and licensing and merchandising, shares the reason behind tonton’s new offerings: “We’ve done very well with our local drama offerings which makes up about 80% of tonton. But it’s also good to reach out to a new set of audience. And it gives our existing subscribers more variety.”
She adds the programmes will be exclusively on tonton first before hitting Media Prima’s TV channels a few months later.
Asked if there will be more English drama series available on tonton, she says: “Like Marvel, it needs to have a strong pulling factor for new subscribers to want to take it up. We are selective about programmes we bring on our platform.”
The great outdoors
Besides the Marvel titles, tonton is upping its urban offerings with the introduction of Outdoor Channel on its platform. Outdoor Channel is an American channel dedicated to all things outdoorsy, from fishing to off-road motorsports.
Airin shares the partnership with Outdoor Channel is a way to vary tonton’s catalogue.
“To grow our business, we must be able to engage with different sets of audiences such as outdoor lovers. While (the programmes) may seem niche … It’s also about variety and experimenting with different things and seeing what works for our audiences.”
Apart from featuring programmes by Outdoor Channel, tonton and the American adventure channel are working hand in hand for an original production. This project sees Zimbabwean conservationist Ivan Carter exploring Gua Tempurung and Tasik Raban in Perak.
As tonton has been transitioning from an advertising-based video-on-demand service (AVOD, where viewers watch for free) to a combination of AVOD and subscription-based video-on-demand service (SVOD, where viewers pay a fee), these new offerings serve to give subscribers more bang for their buck.
Asked if there are concerns about losing out on viewers watching series through illegal means, Airin says: “You get a better experience (on tonton), we have all our content in high definition, we have a new interface and the shows have Bahasa Malaysia subtitles.”
And with some of the urban audience subscribing to other SVODs such as Netflix, Prime Video and iflix, Airin believes these new additions will help tonton stay competitive.
“Our service was free for five years so it was hard to educate our customers about having to pay. With all the international SVOD players that have come in, they’ve created awareness among Malaysians that you have to pay for content. That has helped us.
“And as the Marvel series is not available anywhere else in this market, it gives us a competitive edge over the other SVOD players.”
Inhumans, Runaways and Cloak & Dagger will be available on tonton VIP. Subscription to tonton VIP costs RM3 (daily), RM5 (weekly), RM10 (monthly) and RM96 (annually).