Coronavirus gives 60% boost to mobile streaming in South-East Asia


  • AseanPlus News
  • Monday, 20 Apr 2020

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SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR/JAKARTA/BANGKOK: Online video weekly minutes on mobile devices leaped by 60% in aggregate across in South-East Asia, as the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic sparked lockdowns and stay at home orders.

According to a survey conducted by consultancy and research firm Media Partners Asia weekly consumption grew from 36.4 billion minutes in mid-January to 58 billion minutes per week by April 11. (The methodology combines passively observed digital behavior and empirical survey data, and covers online video and gaming.)

"The penetration of streaming video has increased dramatically during this pandemic as millions have been forced to operate from home.

The focus now is on how successfully subscription-VoD platforms will be able to retain newly acquired customers in the second half of 2020 and to what extent ad-supported VoD platforms can capitalize on the expanded reach," said Media Partners Asia executive director Vivek Couto.

The boost in viewing came at the same time as some regional streaming players ran into trouble. In the last month Hooq was put into liquidation by majority owner Singtel. Iflix, which operates across 17 markets, recently laid off more than 50 staff and announced another funding round.

Indonesia, The Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore) had a combined 7 million paying online video or OTT customers at end-March 2020, accounting for $350 million in annual consumer spend, according to the survey. Netflix is a clear leader in most markets, followed by Viu which operates a freemium service.

"It is interesting to see the increasing depth of video consumption in the region, which is reflected in the minutes consumed, stickiness and use of multiple platforms," Couto told Variety.

Other findings show: YouTube, already dominant in terms of minutes, has grew incrementally from its high base; Netflix subscription growth via mobile plans was driven by consumption of its Korean, Anime, and Western Original content; Viu streaming minutes and viewers continued to grow, driven largely by Korean content, and its paid subscription spiked up significantly in Thailand; China's iQIYI, still in soft launch in Asean countries, has grown steadily in Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand; Amazon Prime Video grew most significantly in Singapore.

Couto said that HBO Go, iQIYI and Tencent are well placed to grow in the future, along with new entrants such as Disney Plus. - Reuters
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