LOS ANGELES: Consumers in Asia spent 15% more time using streaming services in the first quarter of 2021 than they did in the same period of last year. That growth lagged the global increase of 36% recorded by analytics firm Conviva.
But Asian showed two other key consumption patterns: for the first time, the majority of streaming time across the region as a whole went to on-demand services, rather than live content; and, in the mobile- and desktop-first region, usage continued to swing towards larger screens at home.
Conviva defines Asia as stretching from Cyprus to Japan and from Northern Russia to Sri Lanka and Indonesia, thus including most of the Middle East, India and China. But it excludes Australia and New Zealand, which other entities consider as part of Asia-Pacific.
That vastness comes with significant sub-regional differences. Southern Asia, which includes India, Pakistan, and Iran, experienced a massive 151% increase in streaming viewing time. Southern Asia also was in the forefront of the expanded use of large screens for streaming viewing.
Both trends point to stay-at-home consumption rising under Covid lockdown conditions, and viewers either using connected devices, smart TVs or casting to large displays from their handheld devices.
That pattern was further reinforced by Conviva’s analysis of how sports leagues in Asia rallied with significant improvements in engagements in Q1 2021. Viewership of the Indian Premier League cricket tournament climbed 142% (before it was halted in April by resurgent virus outbreaks). The IPL had the largest presence on Facebook with 51% of its audience on the platform, followed by Instagram at 22%, and Twitter at 20%.
Elsewhere, the Korea Baseball Organisation saw viewing up by 60%, and Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) climb 29%. NPB fostered the majority of its audience on Twitter with 55% share, followed by YouTube and Instagram at 15% each and Facebook at 14%.
Asia’s device choices when streaming on large home screens differ greatly from other global regions.
“Whereas Roku and Amazon Fire TV accounted for almost half of the world’s big screen time, Android TV dominates viewing in Asia with nearly half of all time spent. Roku, a powerhouse in North America, with a 30% share of global big screen viewing time, barely made a blip in Asia with just 1% share in Q1 2021,” the study notes. – Variety/Reuters