Go Digital, Go Local is flavour of Asia TV Forum 2015

SINGAPORE: It seems the pre-market conference is looking to set the tone for the rest of the market as well. Everyone, who is either involved in the content creation or content aggregation end, is thinking digital and going local.


Post the keynotes earlier in the day, the sessions that followed include: 'The Future of TV and Visual Entertainment,’ 'Native Players, Digital Strategies,’ 'View from Over The Top' and 'Digital Content: Cashing in or Cashing out?’


In the first one, UK-based Ovum's practice leader Ed Barton took to stage and gave some valuable insights in terms of how the world's leading broadcasters and pay-TV operators are rethinking their business models to adapt to the ever changing and evolving viewing habits of the consumers. And even more importantly how advertisers are now thinking outside the box to catch their next potential customer.


“Pay-TV growth in developing regions will be driven by finer market segmentation. While digital will continue to grow and rely heavily on what millennials choose to consume, with creators having to strategise better and cater to those needs,” said Barton.


According to Ovum's study, India's average revenue per user (ARPU) from Pay-TV subscribers would be around $7.24 by 2020, whereas that for APAC will be at $8.63. But, what was more interesting is the fact that according to the same study, China would be having a lower ARPU than the Indian sub-continent, which is somewhat hard to digest. "The growth for video on demand services and HD services will be directly proportional to the ARPUs drive they receive,” Barton added.


Next up the panel discussing 'Native Players, Digital Strategies' saw Endemol Asia MD Fotini Parakakis, MNC Sky Vision - Indonesia, VP director Yudha Wibawa and BBC Worldwide - SEA, SVP & GM Monty Ghai giving their views on what they believe is the future of digital content from the broadcaster's perspective.


“Broadcasters and brands are more open than ever before to explore differentiated content offerings and break out of the old school, tried and tested formulas. It’s heartening to see independent content creators, who got their very own multi-channel networks (MCNs) now taking it a step ahead by working with broadcasters to create more engaging content,” said Parakakis.


Sharing similar views BBC's Ghai shared, “We are exploring short format shows as well, but our main focus will continue to remain long form premium content since that's in our DNA. That being said, what I believe will work for SEA and rest of Asia is if digital content can be used to drive audiences to consume more content on linear as well, rather than leading to cannibalise its presence.”


Indonesia is somewhat similar to how India is progressing in terms of its digitisation process, and people there too face similar hurdles like low broadband connectivity and penetration, along with infrastructure woes. But even in such a scenario MNC Sky Vision's Wibawa sees a ray of hope. "Although only a few cities are in the position to look at heavy consumption of content on the mobile (given the low broadband penetration) it is still worth a shot and a fairly large population (read over 30 per cent) that is on the look out for such content,” Wibawa said.


Similar discussions were held during the other two sessions as well, which clearly shows that digital is here to stay and if creators embrace the idea of 'Going Local, but for the world' then there’s nothing that can stand in the way of how Asia transforms from being influenced by western content, to influence western content instead.

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