In South-East Asia, streaming subscriptions have slowed, but revenue continues to climb

Despite slower subscriber growth, streaming revenues in South-East Asia rose by 12.5%. — AFP Relaxnews

The streaming subscriber boom in South-East Asia slowed in 2023, with only 1.3 million new SVOD subscribers compared to 11 million the previous year. Revenues, however, continued to climb impressively, reaching US$1.4bil (RM6.69bil), representing growth of 12.5%.

Just when there seemed to be no end to the buzz surrounding streaming subscriptions, a study by AMPD, part of the Media Partners Asia group, tempers the mood by revealing a noticeable slowdown in South-East Asia in 2023.

But while the number of new subscribers has grown only slightly – by 1.3 million, compared with 11 million in 2022 – the industry is far from being at half-mast, since revenue climbed 12.5% to US$1.4bil (RM6.69bil).

Demand for local content

While Netflix retains its leadership with a market share of over 45%, local platforms are gaining ground. In Indonesia, Vidio, with its highly local and sports-oriented catalogue, has climbed to second place in terms of revenue thanks to clever tactics, such as broadcasting the Liga 1 soccer and the FIFA U17 World Cup.

Korean shows continue to be all the rage. They account for 36% of premium VOD viewership and 34% of SVOD consumption, with hits like The Glory and King The Land on Netflix and season 2 of Taxi Driver on Viu.

In 2023, Netflix and Viu established themselves as the kings of “K-content” streaming in South-East Asia, capturing over 90% of demand for such shows.

The breakthrough of Thai content is also noteworthy, with horror shows appealing even beyond the country’s borders. Chinese productions account for 10% of consumption, and are particularly popular in Thailand.

US content still appeals in South-East Asia

In all, Korean, American and Japanese content accounts for 70% premium VOD viewership in South-East Asia, demonstrating regional interest in these cultures. Far from being a simple niche phenomenon, animé is shaping up to be an essential pillar of streaming in South-East Asia. In fact, Japanese cartoons account for 14% of SVOD demand in the region, confirming viewers’ enthusiasm for this type of content.

American content continues to enjoy strong appeal in South-East Asia, accounting for 21% of the premium VOD audience overall and 30% of the SVOD audience in 2023. Netflix takes the lion’s share in this field, followed by Disney+ and Prime Video.

The One Piece movie, a live-action adaptation of the cult manga, was the most popular American production on streaming platforms. Other Netflix originals – such as Tyler Rake 2 (Extraction 2), XO, Kitty and Queen Charlotte – were also a big hit with audiences.

Optimism remains high for 2024, according to AMPD senior analyst Dhivya T.: “Subscriber growth dramatically slowed over a volatile and high churn 2023, but monetisation remains robust and will further improve over 2024 [...]. The content pillars that drive customer acquisition, retention and engagement are now well-defined with new Asian/local pillars emerging.” – AFP Relaxnews

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