Arun Sudhaman 19 Oct 2016 // 8:42AM GMT
SINGAPORE — Netflix has assigned PR duties for Singapore and Malaysia to Weber Shandwick following a competitive review, the agency has confirmed.
The decision, first reported by Mumbrella Asia, sees Weber Shandwick displace MSLGroup, which retains its position as Netflix's key PR partner across the remainder of Asia.
Weber Shandwick Singapore MD Vanessa Ho Nikolovski told the Holmes Report that the brief is "purely PR", covering consumer and corporate. It does not involve digital or social, for which Netflix works with the The Secret Little Agency.
Contract details are still being hammered out, with Weber Shandwick set to report to Jessica Lee, who joined Netflix from McDonald’s China at the start of the year to lead the company’s communications for the region out of Singapore. Weber Shandwick previously worked for Lee as McDonald's key PR agency in China.
Ho Nikolovski added that the agency will be handling the remit as two separate country briefs. "We're looking forward to exciting campaigns in line with their global expansion," she said.
Netflix launched in 130 markets at the same time at the start of this year, with the rollout managed by MSL. However, according to a YouGov survey conducted last month, 45% of consumers in this region are unaware of the launch. Of those who are aware, just a quarter said they plan to subscribe and 11% said they already have.
In particular, Netflix faces competition from cheaper local rival OTT providers and popular piracy sites. Efforts to persuade consumers of the service's advantages over these rivals have faced challenges, due to high content licensing costs and a lack of local language content.
Netflix’s share price dropped 15% in July, after the company revealed slower than expected subscriber growth at home and overseas. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had earlier admitted that Singapore consumers were "growing disenchanted" with the service.