New Survey Explores Asian Consumers’ Views on OTT


HONG KONG/SINGAPORE: Day-and-date content, user interfaces, access to bundled packages and problems with dubbing and subtitling are top of mind for OTT subscribers in six key Asian markets, according to a broad consumer survey conducted by Media Partners Asia (MPA).

The Asia Video Consumer Panel surveyed a total of 6,000 consumers, 1,000 each in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The panels encompassed a broad range of demos, from millennials up.

Netflix, iflix and Viu led among the regional players, while the local players doing well include Astro, Now TV, TVB and Toggle.

One of the key findings is the importance of telco and pay-TV integration for consumers. Most respondents said they had taken OTT services via their telco or pay-TV providers. The exception here was Netflix, where a high proportion of subs went for a direct signup.

The survey also looked at the Net Promotor Score (NPS) for operators, assessing if subscribers would recommend their OTT platform to friends and family. The results were “largely negative,” MPA said, with Netflix again as the exception, delivering a positive score in four out of six markets. Users in Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia tended to award negative NPS to almost all SVOD-based OTT video service providers. Users in Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines were more positive.

Among the key features for OTT consumers is streaming to television, followed by the ability to download. In terms of content, meanwhile, OTT subscribers overwhelmingly want day-and-date content, particularly Hollywood movies, which was ranked as a “must-have” for a premium SVOD service. Korean dramas, new Chinese dramas, new Hollywood series and increasingly, sports, were also considered key content elements to an SVOD service.

Offering up exclusive insight into the report, MPA VP Aravind Venugopal tells World Screen, “One of the questions we ask consumers is, if you were given a chance to subscribe to a premium SVOD service—by premium we mean day-and-date movies from the big studios, local and international—how much are they willing to pay? It varies depending on the market. In most markets, it’s almost in line with what we see for pay TV.”

North of 40 percent of respondents in most markets expressed interest in a sports OTT service, Venugopal adds. Asked if having one would result in them shaving their pay-TV packages, “a big chunk of the survey base came back and said, Yes we would. How much are they willing to pay for sports? Here is where it gets interesting. Unlike the premium SVOD question we asked, for sports, they’re willing to pay much less. It’s surprising, because sports is a fairly expensive proposition in most markets, at least in markets that we surveyed for the purposes of this research. Over the past 6 to 12 months there’s been a massive pushback from consumers as sports package costs escalate. We’ve seen that in a couple of markets. Consumers have increasingly turned to pirated services to get their fix. Consumers are willing to pay much less than what the premier pay-TV packs for sports cost in most of these markets. They’re willing to pay between $11.50/$12 and $19/$20, depending on the market. Singapore and Hong Kong are on the higher end. Most of Southeast Asia is on the lower end. That’s way lower than what pay-TV operators charge.”

One big complaint from subscribers was the user interface, with many expressing frustration about finding the content they wanted, and an issue with poor dubbing and subtitling. “We asked consumers what their biggest issue was with SVOD and apart from the usual one of buffering and delayed starts, audio sync/lack of subtitles was an issue, even in Netflix’s case, and a lot of consumers came back and said they can’t find shows,” Venugopal said.

The survey also found that 5 to 10 percent of respondents admitted to using a pirated set-top-box to access pay-TV services.

In terms of payment mechanisms, topping up of prepaid credit-card balances is commonplace in the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia. On average, respondents are doing this more than three times a month. MPA notes that this finding potentially supports the case for sachet pricing.

Venugopal also offered up some insight into “the battle for the screen” between linear and streaming. In all but one of the six markets (Indonesia), more than 25 percent of respondents are spending more time with streaming than they are with terrestrial and pay TV (Hong Kong leads the pack). As fixed broadband and 4G access continues to accelerate, the proportion of viewers watching more streamed television than live is likely to increase.

Subscription to the full 500-page November 2017 report is available from November 10 onwards from MPA.