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Streaming in APAC ups revenue by 14% in 2020: MPA report

Industry projected to reach $54.5 billion in Asia Pacific by 2025.

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NEW DELHI: Coronavirus may have been like a catastrophe on many levels but it did precipitate an adoption of digital at an unprecedented rate. Consumers starved for entertainment thronged to video streaming platforms, forking over money for premium content. In fact, the Asia Pacific online video industry upped its revenue by 14 per cent in 2020 to reach $30.5 billion, said Media Partners Asia (MPA) in its Asia Pacific Online Video and Broadband Distribution report released on Monday.

Subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) overtook the advertising video on demand (AVoD) to contribute 53 per cent of the total revenue in 2020. The trend is expected to continue and the total online video revenues would grow at a CAGR of 12 per cent to reach $54.5 billion by 2025, with subscription contributing 57 per cent and advertising 43 per cent, it stated.

The comprehensive report published by MPA reviews the drivers shaping the fast-moving online video and telecoms industries across 14 Asia Pacific markets with analysis of online video subscribers, advertising and subscription revenues, among others.

“During 2020, the Covid2019 pandemic created a work-from-home environment that scaled the adoption of online services, including SVoD. The average number of such services subscribed by customers outside of China grew through 2020, reaching 3.8 in Australia and Japan and 2.8 in markets such as India and Southeast Asia,” said MPA executive director Vivek Couto.

He said that the subscriber growth will decelerate in 2021 and the production of new content will remain impacted in the first half. But the scale and velocity of investment in premium content should ensure that net new customer additions will remain robust over the medium term. “Moreover, profitability should grow more rapidly than revenues and subscribers as online businesses scale. This is particularly true in larger markets such as Australia, China, Japan and Korea,” he added.

According to the report, the landscape for SVoD looks promising in the emerging markets of India and Southeast Asia. But it is still being shaped because of growing competitive intensity with increased investment in content and distribution. Theatrical windows are narrowing for online video operators while key genres are moving rapidly and exclusively online. ARPUs will remain compressed as platforms scale in India, it said.

“The future will also see more distribution deals with mobile, fixed broadband, pay-TV and smart TV operators to drive consumption and payment on small and big screens. Evolving regulations may impact content creation and investment as governments look to introduce censorship and impose content quotas,” said Couto.

MPA’s analysis further shows that 13 online video operators accounted for more than 70 per cent of Asia Pacific online video revenues in 2019, generating $21.1 billion in aggregate.

Netflix has built a strong business in Asia Pacific. Amazon Prime Video is successful in India and Japan and is surging in Australia. Disney’s global SVOD expansion has been a success to date. Its subscribers in India are low-ARPU but the platform could secure more than 80 million subscribers in India if it can retain key sports rights and continue to invest in local originals, said the report.

The launch of Disney+ Hotstar in Indonesia has met with early success, especially in terms of reach and paid subscribers. The core Disney+ service has succeeded in Australia and New Zealand and is growing in Japan. These markets will benefit from the launch of Star (as part of Disney+) in 2021 as access to series and movies from ABC, Fox and FX brands should help drive customer growth.

Local broadcasters have moved online or are licensing to key OTT players, and in some cases, doing both.

Southeast Asian regional major Viu has grown its SVoD business with Korean content and local acquisitions. In Indonesia, Emtek’s Vidio has passed one million paying subscribers with premium local content and sports rights. Line TV is Thailand’s largest AVoD platform after YouTube and Facebook. In Korea, a number of local platforms compete including Wavve, TVing, Coupang Play and Kakao TV Talk.

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