SVOD Wishes Meet Reality In SE Asia
Consumers expect a lot on content and pricing.
The ideal SVOD service for broadband users in Southeast Asia costs between US$14-18 per month, depending on the market, supplying a broad mix of content but anchored around the latest Hollywood movies.
That’s one of the key conclusions in a new research study, Asia Video Consumer Panel, from Media Partners Asia (MPA).
The survey, carried out by research specialist BDRC International, covers six markets – Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – sampling 1,000 broadband customers in each territory.
The research also shows that the price broadband customers are willing to pay for their ideal SVOD service comes in slightly higher than average pay-TV Arpus in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.
These are three large growth markets where subscriber growth in traditional pay-TV shows signs of tapering off.
That highlights an opportunity to create a new ecosystem for premium content, although it wont be easy. Suppliers must put together services that people don’t mind paying for.
Related story: Some Levers Of Growth For SEA OTT
At this early stage of development, content offerings tend to be patchy, characterized by older movies, incomplete seasons and mostly non-local content. Consumer expectations around content and delivery, on the other hand, are starting high.
Nonetheless, a deeper and broader content offering promises to unlock growth for paid services, as more viewing shifts online.
“There are plenty of opportunities for operators to tackle other content genres, but right now they are focused on the Hollywood and international segment,” notes MPA VP, Aravind Venugopal.
“Not many online video providers, with the exception of some of local ones, provide access to local content,” Venugopal adds.
“That’s the game changer. Or like Netflix, not just subtitling but dubbing content which they are starting to do now.”
Not enough advocates
Consumer dissatisfaction meanwhile, reflected in net promoter scores, is widespread across the region for most services.
At the same time, few people have tried out paid services, despite the prevalence of free trials as well as complimentary or subsidized access through broadband bundles.
That points to persistent challenges around product and brand awareness, the starting point in the consumer journey to becoming a paid customer.
“Conversion just hasn’t happened,” Venugopal tells Media Business Asia. “Where it has happened, it is for authenticated services or ad-supported services that you don’t have to cancel.”
In Hong Kong and Singapore meanwhile, consumers are looking to SVOD to deliver something much cheaper than conventional pay-TV. That adds a disruptive edge to OTT, via pricing pressure on content suppliers and pay-TV platforms.
Inflation for top-tier international sports rights is already hitting a ceiling in much of Southeast Asia, triggering experimentation in distribution and monetisation.
Broadband customers no longer have to subscribe to a conventional pay-TV service to watch the EPL in Hong Kong and Singapore, or the NBA in the Philippines, for example.
Sports, alongside movies and entertainment, also stands to become a major engine of growth for emerging SVOD ecosystems across Southeast Asia.