A new streaming app that is very perfect for overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East is finally here! Vivamax Middle East–a one-stop entertainment hub where Filipino movie fans can access the biggest library of top Filipino films, TV series, documentaries, music specials, and most of all, Vivamax Originals–is now available to be downloaded on Apple Store and PlayStore.
The streaming app also offers content from all genres including comedy, drama, romance, horror, action, special interest, among others. In an exclusive interview with the co-CEO of Vivamax Middle East, Mr. Zain Mirza, he said that their goal is to facilitate an affordable and accessible platform where OFWs can watch content for all ages whether it’s Viva’s all-time favorites from the ’90s to controversial topical films series today right on their fingertips.
The Global Filipino Magazine sat with Mr. Mirza to further discuss the streaming app.
1. Everyone is excited about the arrival of Vivamax Middle East. Can you tell us more about this new streaming app?
Well, to begin with, it is star-studded and very affordable! Vivamax Middle East will be starring some of the brightest stars in the industry such as Sarah Geronimo, Anne Curtis, Vice Ganda, Aga Muhlach, John Arcilla, Bela Padilla, Cristine Reyes, Dingdong Dantes, JC Santos, Matteo Guidicelli, Xian Lim, and many others, helmed by some of the country’s finest directors like Erik Matti, Jason Paul Laxamana, Paul Soriano, Joyce Bernal, Irene Villamor, Mikhail Red, Yam Laranas, Pedring Lopez, Darryl Yap, RC delos Reyes, and Lawrence Fajardo.
In addition, Viva will also partner with other content producers like Reality Entertainment, Star Cinema, Black Cap Pictures, BlackOps Asia, Project 8, IdeaFirst, and others to deliver diversified shows that will appeal to various audiences.
2. Once it’s formally launched, what will be the content of Vivamax Middle East? Will there be any difference with its counterpart Vivamax in the Philippines in terms of contents?
Vivamax Middle East will offer content from all genres including comedy, drama, romance, horror, action, special interest, documentaries, concerts, music videos, live events as well as showcase Viva’s originally produced series, movies, and documentaries. We will also have top-grossing and award-winning Viva titles like Miracle in Cell No. 7, Sid & Aya, Miss Granny, and Kita Kita among others. Our aim is to facilitate OFW affordable accessibility to Pinoy content for all ages whether it’s Viva all-time favorites from the ’90s to controversial topical films or series of the 21st century. There’s plenty for everyone! Hence Atin’ To!
We will differ to some degree from our counterparts Vivamax in the Philippines due to some legacy rights agreements, so there will be some titles that will be available in the Middle East that will not be available in the Philippines and vice versa. However, when it comes to new releases/Vivamax originals, we will look to mirror each other.
3. With this new platform, what do you think is the edge of it among other leading streaming apps?
Well, I’m hoping you will be answering that question for me very soon! Our edge of course begins with our exclusive Vivamax originals that will be exclusively available on our platform only in the region. Vivamax’s goal is to redefine the audience viewing experience by making sure that the products we churn out are not your usual cinema and free-TV fare. We’re seeking to advance the needle in terms of creating quality content while at the same time making sure that these contents are truly enjoyable and binge-worthy. It is worth noting that 5 years ago the average viewer subscribed to a single platform, however, we are now globally averaging 2 or more! And hence Vivamax Middle East aims to complement your other existing subscriptions so you can enjoy a better variety of content from several platforms.
Streaming apps tend to begin as content aggregators and gradually develop towards producing originals whereas Viva has been producing contents for decades prior to launching streaming. We are more of a Disney+ than a Netflix so to speak. We have the advantage of a strong Viva following already, and coupled with an advanced technology platform that you will see will be much more than just a streaming app as we grow. That’s all I can say for now without ruining future surprises!
4. How can Filipino subscribe to this new platform? How much is the fee? Is it a competitive price?
Good question! Subscription is through our web at www.vivamax.me (by creating a Vivamax account, or signing up through Facebook, Google, Apple ID for ease) or through our Apps which you can download through the Apple Store and Google Playstore, available across the GCC (UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, & Saudi Arabia). Payments can be made via Debit or Credit card or by purchasing monthly (top-up style) vouchers from one of the distribution partners e.g. Choithrams, Almaya, and a few others over the coming weeks.
Our pricing is very affordable, especially when you consider the cost of a Cinema ticket of approximately 35 AED for a single movie, whereas for the same price on Vivamax ME you get almost 4 new movies/titles per month along with our extended backlog catalogue of classics!
We offer a monthly package at AED 35; 3 months package at AED 95; 6 months package at AED 180; or a year package at AED 336 which is perfect as a Christmas, Valentine, or birthday gift for friends, family, and employees!
5. What are the requirements to be a subscriber?
I would say there aren’t many requirements other than having internet, a smartphone, tablet, or web-enabled device. However, we do have content/titles that cater to over 18 so some parental guidance would be advisable. Our viewers can download titles for a given time period to watch content offline on long commutes on the metro or bus which helps the journey fly by. Time flies when you are having fun, right?!
6. Is it worth it to install or subscribe to this app?
Of course! Especially whilst the cinemas and their capacity remain tentative for the foreseeable future. Beyond the pandemic, we foresee a future when audiences will enjoy both the theater experience and the convenience of streaming such that both platforms will co-exist and complement each other.
In addition, Viva has the biggest library for films and music, the biggest stars, the best directors, and creative/production teams. Viva has invested heavily in digital content and production in the past years and unlike other platforms that may have come and gone, we want to assure our subscribers that signing up with us will become a long-term relationship as Viva has committed to spending a minimum of P6 billion production budget for the next five years with the intention of releasing fresh content every week.
7. Last question, this is a rarity to see a non-OFW leading the charge in such an organization – Can you tell us about your journey to Co-CEO of Vivamax ME?
Absolutely! It certainly is and perhaps it reflects Viva’s approach and journey to becoming a global entertainment company. I have grown up between Dubai and London, and I have seen the OFW community grow from strength to strength so I have a flavour of the culture and the community. I have spent 12 years of my career working in media and broadcast and have advised leading media and telco companies in London such as Virgin Media UK, Sky UK, Vodafone, and British Telecom in their strategy and operations. Specifically, in the last 6 years, I have been deeply involved in the technology side of production and streaming distribution which I believe will serve us well in differentiating our streaming app from others. However, for now, I am currently working on improving my Tagalog! Step by step! Salamat po!
This story has been featured on the 12th issue of The Global Filipino Magazine. To get a copy, you may contact Mr Orli Gayeta at +971503196856. If you have an inspiring story or know someone with one, please send an email at email@example.com.