Across India, South Korea and Southeast Asia, video content budgets rose by 21 percent last year to hit $10.4 billion, with a 15 percent gain expected this year to reach $12 billion, per new Media Partners Asia (MPA) data.
MPA’s Asia Video Content Dynamics report tracks video content consumption, content investment and production costs in India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam across free to air, pay TV and online video.
The strong gains in 2021 were driven by channels and platforms refreshing their content pipelines post Covid lockdowns in 2020.
Korea and India represent a combined $7.4 billion of last year’s spend, with other markets ranging from $400 million to $900 million each. By platform, meanwhile, pay TV accounted for 46 percent of content investment, with OTT taking a 26 percent share, a whopping 83 percent year-on-year gain, and free to air at 25 percent.
The 15 percent projected increase this year will be led by Korea and India, with online video again showing the biggest gains.
In terms of genres, drama is the most-watched in the markets surveyed, followed by variety and reality TV. In the premium online video segment, series account for 90 percent of consumption, mostly drama.
“Inflation, particularly with online originals, is clearly a factor driving up content costs,” said Stephen Laslocky, VP of MPA. “Online video operators, broadcasters and producers need to see that higher budgets translate into more premium viewing experiences; otherwise, the cost increases will not be sustainable. Internationally successful programs remain the content licensing holy grail, which thus far, only Korean dramas and some anime as well as U.S. and U.K. content have sustainably achieved. Some Thai content has succeeded outside of Thailand. Quality production values, strong storylines with a focus on younger online demographics will be the building blocks of future investment strategies.”
Laslocky continued, “The expanding online video sector has been a boon to independent producers. Profit margins have stabilized at 10 percent or more across much of the region. More can be done to bolster independent producers, including additional compensation for original concepts, commensurate rewards for breakout successes and expanded use of pipeline deals (which allows producers to more reliably recoup overheads). In exchange, producers need to be transparent with production costs. Commissioners need to be willing and able to audit costs.”