Video content budgets in India, Southeast Asia and Korea rose by 12 percent last year to reach about $10 billion, Media Partners Asia (MPA) observes in a new report. Steve Laslocky, the study’s principal author, provides some exclusive insights to World Screen about content trends in the region.
MPA’s latest edition of the Asia Video Content Dynamics study notes that the biggest gain was seen in India, where investments in video content soared by 24 percent to reach $3.6 billion last year, driven in part by the acquisition of sports rights and increased competition amongst regional-language channels. MPA expects investments to soften in 2019 in India due to new regulations on channel pricing and bundling introduced earlier this year.
In Korea, content investments rose by 7.2 percent to $3.2 billion, driven by spending on movies and pay-TV content.
Together, India and Korea accounted for more than 75 percent of video content spend across the markets surveyed in the report.
In Southeast Asia, key gains were seen in Indonesia, with spend up 13 percent to $800 million, and Vietnam, up 11 percent to $500 million. In the Philippines, however, content investment fell by 2.2 percent last year. Malaysian investment was flat.
MPA Vice President Stephen Laslocky noted, “The outlook remains healthy across much of Asia for the video content industry, with aggregate budgets scaling up in TV, film and online video across our surveyed markets. Much of this growth came from India and Korea, two large production dynamos with deep pools of talent. There are pockets of pressure in other markets however, especially for incumbent free-to-air broadcasters in Malaysia and the Philippines, where TV budgets were reined in. Falls in TV viewership have been especially pronounced in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, largely precipitated by digital competition as viewers flee marginal TV channels. Viewing data suggests that popular TV channels are relatively well insulated from online video competition, at least for now.”
Online video content investments in the surveyed markets rose by 60 percent to $858 million in 2018, MPA reports, driven by Amazon, Hotstar and Netflix in India. Online video accounted for 14 percent of all video content spend in India last year, the highest proportion of all our surveyed markets, Laslocky says.
“Korea, while the second-largest online video market in this survey, is less well developed than one might expect,” Laslocky tells World Screen. “TVOD operators, led by telcos, have a first-mover advantage, which Netflix, Pooq and others are looking to reverse, with Netflix slowly making headway.”
He continues, “In Southeast Asia, regional platforms such as Hooq, iflix and Viu have promoted investment as have local incumbents such as Astro and ABS-CBN. Catchup services may prove easier to scale given that their content costs are incremental.”
Laslocky also provided World Screen with exclusive insights on TV ratings across the surveyed markets. “TV consumption in Korea and Indonesia is strong. In Korea, ratings are stable and in Indonesia, ratings grew in 2018. Declines in TV viewership have been most pronounced in Vietnam and Thailand. Viewership declines in the Philippines are modest. The growth of digital precipitates much of the decline in TV viewership, primarily as viewers flee marginal TV channels. Data indicates that viewership of popular TV channels is relatively insulated from digital video platforms, at least in the near term.”
TV viewership is being driven by drama and variety, Laslocky notes. “In growing or capacity constrained markets, variety can be the easier genre to scale with international format houses playing a key role. Movies, both Hollywood and domestic, are good audience pulls.”
Full details on the report can be found here.