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69th Miss Universe finals to stream live on iQiyi
There are 40-plus assets or content related to the Miss Universe pageant on the international streaming service.
STAR/ File

69th Miss Universe finals to stream live on iQiyi

Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - May 16, 2021 - 12:00am

International streaming app iQiyi has partnered with the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) in bringing the 69th Miss Universe finals to Filipino pageant fans.

The OTT player is introducing itself to the Philippine market — also known for being pageant-crazy — by acquiring the rights to livestream for free the Miss Universe 2020 coronation event, which is finally happening in Florida, USA tomorrow, May 17, 8 a.m. (Manila time), after delays caused by the pandemic.

“This development is a key milestone in our journey to bring content that our viewers love to them through our platform. As the MUO’s official partner for the 69th Miss Universe Competition, Filipinos will be able to stream the pageant live for free May 17 exclusively on our iQiyi international app and iQ.com,” said iQiyi Philippines country manager Sherwin Dela Cruz.

Dela Cruz told The STAR that this is the first time that the Miss Universe Organization offered the “day and date livestream” and other exclusive content to a standalone OTT player or streaming service.

According to him, iQiyi (pronounced as “eye-CHEE-yee”) may just be starting out in the Philippines but it’s huge in other territories — the streaming giant in China specifically — and one of the major streaming services from a global standpoint.

Dela Cruz added that they also take pride in the stability of the platform and that they’re ready for everyone watching Miss Universe come Monday morning all at the same time.

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi

“OTT has been here for the past couple of years and you see these with the players like iFlix, iWant, Netflix, Viu and so on, but the actual livestream, hindi pa talaga siya nanduduon. There’s not much people or entities who have done a lot of streaming thrusts,” said Dela Cruz, who co-founded iFlix Philippines before moving to iQiyi.

“I think, for us, it makes so much sense just because, you know, iQiyi is big. And I say this from a global perspective, like 100 million paying subscribers. You know, on one hand, you can only count the number of players who are playing at that level, more than 100 million people watching every month. And I say that because one of the most crucial things also is the stability of the platform.”

Viewers can access iQiyi International via iQ.com or download the app for free from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Besides the livestreaming of the coronation event, the app carries behind-the-scenes and never-before-seen content. These include curated pageant highlights, backstage and offstage scenes, and glam cams accessible through a dedicated page on the iQiyi platform, both web and app.

Dela Cruz said there are 40-plus assets related to the Miss Universe on the platform.

Of course, he noted, that the heart of it all is the livestream — the day and date or simultaneous airing of the top international pageant.

He added, “It goes without saying that as soon as it’s (done), it comes to the site immediately after, so that you can watch it repeatedly.”

Meanwhile, Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, issued a statement on the partnership.

“Our partnership with iQiyi in the Philippines will allow us to tap into their cutting-edge technology to expand the reach and viewership of this year’s Miss Universe competition,” Shugart said.

“We knew that joining forces with iQiyi is the right decision to make this year’s Miss Universe competition accessible to every Filipino with data or access to Wifi.”

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