The Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) hosted over 850 delegates and featured over 80 industry leaders at the recent OTT Summit, with conversations revolving a lot on the subject of growth, from subscriber and revenue growth to increased local content investment and an intense focus on the customer.
In discussing the outlook for the video industry in Asia, Vivek Couto, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Media Partners Asia (MPA), indicated there remained a lot of room for growth. With most markets having an SVOD household penetration of less than 50%, there was certainly an upside for Southeast Asia and some parts of North Asia as well. However, while the region remained bullish on growth, the Average Revenue Per User remained low, particularly in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and India. As such, some tiers and price increases would be introduced along the way, especially when premium sport started to be added to the platforms.
The adage of "Content is King" was very much heard throughout the summit. In MPA's review of share of first-title consumption, premium local content was a key driver for customer acquisition, particularly in Indonesia and Thailand, with local content that showed some travelability, and as expected, with Korean content traveling very well, and some Japanese content as well.
This focus on content continued through to the fireside chat with Catherine Park, SVP, Head of Office & Streaming for Asia, Paramount Global, where she reiterated that their "mission is to unleash the power of the content with the belief that content is king." With different go-to-market strategies to unlock maximum value, Paramount Plus planned to launch first in Korea with CJ ENM, then Japan as the next market followed by Southeast Asia in 2023. Park also shared Paramount's "glocal" strategy - to have global vision but with local execution.
The importance of being local was also echoed by many panellists, as Asia could not be seen as one homogenous market. Sagar Pandit, Associate Director, Business Development, Asia Pacific, Discovery, Inc., said, "When you gun for growth, especially in Asia, it's about tailoring your approach for every region but keeping your consumer at the front and centre of whatever you are doing."
And with increasing fragmentation in Asia, customer obsession became a key part of the strategy, as more platforms leveraged technology to deliver personalised experiences. For Parminder Singh, Chief Commercial and Digital Officer, Mediacorp, the three things a customer looked for were highly personalized and relevant content, and new virtual interactive experiences, all built into one single experience, with the use of technology that would allow you to bring all of this to the customer. "If you are only delivering a straightforward service, you are going to be left behind," added Akash Saxena, Head of Technology, Disney+ Hotstar India.
However, the challenge to integrate it all into an operator's platform for a seamless experience very much remained, calling for perhaps greater aggregation and bundling for the OTT industry, as we started to see some fatigue from consumers working with multiple services to meet their content needs.
Closing off the summit with Bold Predictions for the Future of Streaming, Gourav Rakshit, COO, Viacom18 Digital Ventures, remained very optimistic, sharing that a large bet that platforms had not fully capitalised on was the area of media becoming social, with the opportunity to build communities. "We've really made rapid strides in the last five years . . . the next five will be focusing a lot more on delivering consumer delight," said Rakshit.