This year has brought its share of challenges and changes, one of the biggest of which being the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent worldwide shut-downs. Having to stay home for prolonged periods, people have started spending more time online, especially engaging with videos. This has led to an unprecedented surge in video consumption, expediting growth in the already booming sector of video streaming startups in Southeast Asia and around the world.
It is important to understand that the marketing strategy in this sector required for success in Southeast Asia is vastly different from that in the West where it is usually determined by the number of users, following a subscription video on demand (SVOD) model. Whereas, for startups in Southeast Asia, they profit better following an advertisement video on demand (AVOD) model due to relatively lower incomes and willingness to watch advertisements in exchange for lower payment rates.
Video technology has been evolving fast and Southeast Asia is seeing the impact. We explore the changes.
Amidst the pandemic, video streaming in Southeast Asia, particularly, has seen a huge jump in consumption. According to Media Partners Asia (MPA), the total online video streaming minutes on mobile grew by over 60% per week in aggregate across the region, in countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore between January 20th and April 11th 2020.
Let us look at some of the most widely-used video streaming services in Southeast Asia in 2020:
Viu operates with both the SVOD and AVOD models and now has the highest number of users in Southeast Asia and the second-highest number of streaming minutes compared to other streaming services. Driven largely by Korean dramas, Viu is accessible through most of Southeast Asia along with other countries in Asia and the Middle East, but its subscriptions have spiked significantly in Thailand, particularly.
Operating primarily on an AVOD model, iQIYI has only recently launched its English version, showing English-dubbed Chinese dramas. Though still in the soft-launch phase in Southeast Asia, it has grown steadily in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, reporting a 500% increase in consumption this year.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video uses both SVOD and AVOD models and has grown most significantly in Singapore through the surveyed period. This streaming service shows primarily English content and has provided little localised content and adjustments compared to the other services.
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There has also been significant growth among local, country-specific streaming startups. These streaming services are available primarily in their country of origin and tend to focus on country-specific content. Being limited to one area, they are each experiencing growth they may not have achieved in different circumstances.
- Vidio, owned by SCMA, is based in Indonesia and has seen astronomical growth in consumption at a rate of 225% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- iWant, owned by ABS-CBN and based in the Philippines, has seen an equally significant rise in viewership, tripling in number just this year.
- meWATCH, which is owned by MediaCorp is Singapore’s largest source of content creation. They have experienced 97% growth while having also established business partnerships with the OTT Platform and HOOQ.
- Line TV, is based in Thailand and has seen a 107% increase in consumers this year.
While slightly different from traditional video streaming services, mobile video platforms such as AIS PLAY and TrueID, both based in Thailand, also continue to grow in consumption this year. These platforms are smaller in scale but seem to be extremely successful in their own right.
There is no denying that video streaming in Southeast Asia has experienced tremendous growth and success during this global pandemic. Going from some 34.6 billion minutes of streaming to over 64 billion in just over four months is amazing, but video streaming platforms will need to strategise and continue expanding past this growth spurt in order to maintain these numbers as the world starts to open up again and people are able to resume their usual hobbies.