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India to be APAC’s fourth largest online video subscription opportunity by 2023: MPA

This has been driven by growth of payment infrastructure as well as investment in sports rights, l

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MUMBAI: The latest report by Media Partners Asia (MPA) predicts that by 2023, India will be Asia Pacific’s fourth-largest online video subscription opportunity after China, Australia and Japan.

The Asia Pacific Online Video & Broadband Distribution report goes on to say that Asia Pacific’s online video revenue, comprising net ad spend and subscription fees, is expected to grow at 18 per cent CAGR, up from $21 billion in 2018 to $48 billion by 2023.

The growth of online video subscription has been impressive in China, with fees rising from less than $850 million in 2015 to a projected $5 billion in 2018. The growth of online video subscription fees has also been strong and increasingly scalable in Australia and Japan, while meaningful opportunities are opening up in India, driven by the growth of payment infrastructure as well as investment in sports rights, local movies and series. Online video sub fees in Southeast Asia (including Hong Kong) are relatively low, at a projected $267 million in 2018. This could grow to $724 mil by 2023, driven by greater momentum in Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines.

China will account for the lion’s share of industry value, with more than 60 per cent of Asia Pacific online video revenue and more than 75 per cent of direct-to-consumer SVOD subs by 2023. After China, the largest markets by revenue in 2023 will be Japan, Australia, India, Korea and Taiwan. 

MPA executive director Vivek Couto said,“Online video monetisation is starting to scale, supported by rising investment in premium entertainment and sports as well as the growth of broadband and digital payments. Strong digital ecosystems are emerging, especially in China while telcos are also becoming important aggregators of video services in markets such as Australia, India and Southeast Asia. Advertising is a major revenue stream for online video across the region, while subscription is also key, especially in Australia, China and Japan, and growing from a low base in India, Southeast Asia, Korea and Taiwan. Different payment models are emerging across China, India and Southeast Asia incorporating, including TVOD and shorter time commitments, freemium tiers, bundles and loyalty programs tied to a broader mix of digital services.”

Net online video ad spend in Asia Pacific will grow from $13 billion in 2018 to $30 billion by 2023. Ex-China, this opportunity equates to more than $11 billion by 2023, versus $5 billion in 2018. YouTube and to some extent Facebook will remain dominant, with 73 per cent of online video ad spend ex-China by 2023, versus 78 per cent in 2018. The biggest online video ad markets after China by 2023 will be Japan, Australia, India and Korea. Local players will gain share with India leading the way, although Southeast Asia will lag behind.

Online video content costs across Asia Pacific grew by 27 per cent in 2017 to reach $13 billion, with China contributing 85 per cent. Asia Pacific online video content costs will grow from $16.6 billion in 2018 to $31.5 billion by 2023, a 14 per cent CAGR, according to MPA. Ex-China, OTT video content costs will grow from $2.7 billion to $5.9 billion over 2018-23, a 16.5 per cent CAGR, with Australia, India and Japan driving momentum, followed by Korea.

Advances in broadband will provide a significant boost to online video consumption, reach and monetisation. Mobile broadband will continue to grow, including the first flowering of 5G in North Asia and Australia post-2020, alongside a slow but steady transition to next-generation fixed broadband. Mobile broadband penetration in Asia Pacific ex-China will reach 80 per cent per capita by 2023 versus 57 per cent in 2018, with some of the biggest growth coming from India, Indonesia and Thailand. With China included, average mobile broadband penetration in Asia Pacific will grow from 74 per cent to 94 per cent per capita over the 2018-23 period. Average fixed broadband penetration in Asia Pacific will grow steadily from 50 per cent to 54 per cent of households over 2018-23, with the focus increasingly on upgrading networks using fibre and next-generation cable technologies.

High level of online piracy leads the list of barriers to the growth. Apart from China, many local players are also struggling to scale in fragmented marketplaces. The top three SVOD players in a market typically have 50 per cent or more of online video subscription revenues, according to MPA analysis, leaving scope for future consolidation.

Couto added: “We are in the early innings of an industry evolution which will require high levels of investment and strong balance sheets. For standalone players, there is no clear path to significant free cash generation in any market over the medium term, while integrated digital giants and large-scale TV players are subsidising losses for their online video services, although operational breakeven is likely in the near-to-medium term for local platforms in Australia, China, India and Japan.”

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