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OTT hits pay platforms in Asia

Netflix and regional OTT operators are taking subscribers away from established pay TV platforms in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand, according to a new report.

Online piracy also continues to impact pay platforms, research firm Media Partners Asia said while launching the Asia Video Consumer Panel today.

The study uses a panel of 1,000 people in each of six markets – Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand – to provide insight into how consumers engage with, use and interact with video content.

The sample covers millennials and older demos as well as skewing towards mobile consumption in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

The survey showed the importance of day-and-date content, with Hollywood movies topping the list of ‘must have’ genres for a premium SVoD service. This is closely followed by new Korean and Chinese dramas and new Hollywood series, while sport is also viewed as increasingly important.

In Thailand, Indonesia and Hong Kong, the consumption of pay TV is trending lower, with streaming/on-demand services accounting for the vast majority of content needs, the report found.

There is an increasing prevalence of pirated set-top boxes, with between 5% and 10% of the surveyed base admitting to using a pirated set-top box (STB) to access pay TV services.

“The key challenge that operators in Singapore face are twofold: movement of customers from linear to on-demand services and the movement of customers to pirated services,” Media Partners Asia VP Aravind Venugopal told C21.

“The availability of pirated STBs and Android boxes that provide access to pirated content is significant and we’ve seen little action on the ground to rein this in.”

Astro in Malaysia is facing similar pressures, with net declines for its core pay TV service and growing pressure on average revenue per subscriber, he said. Astro’s free satellite service Njoi, which aims to convert free-to-air viewers to a low-cost pay service, has yet to succeed.

Netflix and OTT operators iflix and Viu fare best among regional majors but they “still have a long way to go,” the report said. All three have launched aggressively in Malaysia. Iflix’s bundling deal with Telkom Malaysia and Viu’s focus on premium Korean/Asian content is placing further pressure on Astro, it added.



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