Video content budgets across India, Korea and Southeast Asia climbed 12 per cent in 2018 to reach circa $10 billion, according to the latest edition of Asia Video Content Dynamics, published by Media Partners Asia. Asia Video Content Dynamics tracks investment, production and consumption for TV, film and online video across India, Korea and Southeast Asia’s five biggest growth markets (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam).
The 12 per cent increase, up from 8 per cent in 2017, highlights rising competition for audiences and production talent, especially in India and Korea, two of Asia’s most dynamic production and content hubs. Together, India and Korea accounted for more than 75 per cent of video content spend across the report’s seven surveyed markets last year.
Of these, India was by far the biggest dynamo of growth with a 24 per cent surge in video content spend in 2018 taking budgets up to $3.6 billion according to MPA estimates. This surge reflects a major outlay on premium sports rights in 2018, including a big price increase for IPL cricket, supported by continued growth and competition in TV, especially among regional languages outside the Hindi heartlands. Growth on TV entertainment is likely to soften in 2019, due to new regulations on channel pricing and bundling introduced earlier this year, although underlying trends remain strong.
Video budgets in Korea expanded at a more modest but still respectable 7.2 per cent to $3.2 billion in 2018, lifted up with increased investment on movies and pay-TV content in particular, characterised by rising film production costs and ever improving production values. Compared with India, there is more balanced competition between TV majors in Korea, helping foster creative diversity. Korea’s online video sector is underweight, due to a thriving TVoD market that captures a large slice of audience time and spend. Netflix is starting to drive growth in Korea’s online video sector however, with an eye on local, regional and global distribution.
There are also notable pockets of growth for video content investment in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia, where budgets expanded 13 per cent in 2018 to $800 million, and Vietnam, where investment grew 11 per cent in 2018 to $500 million The overall picture in Southeast Asia was more mixed, however. Video content costs in the Philippines fell 2.2 per cent in 2018, reflecting declining audiences for free-to-air and pay-TV. There was minimal growth in Malaysia, as a result of revenue pressures for Media Prima, the free-to-air incumbent, and Astro, the country’s biggest broadcaster.
Commenting on the findings from the report, MPA Vice President Stephen Laslocky said: “The outlook remains healthy across much of Asia for the video content industry, with aggregate budgets scaling up in TV, film and online video across our surveyed markets. Much of this growth came from India and Korea, two large production dynamos with deep pools of talent. There are pockets of pressure in other markets however, especially for incumbent free-to-air broadcasters in Malaysia and the Philippines, where TV budgets were reined in. Falls in TV viewership have been especially pronounced in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, largely precipitated by digital competition as viewers flee marginal TV channels. Viewing data suggests that popular TV channels are relatively well insulated from online video competition, at least for now.”
Laslocky continued: “Meanwhile, investment in online video content continues to scale, up 60 per cent in aggregate to reach $858 million across the seven surveyed markets, powered by rapid growth in India, boosted by Amazon, Hotstar and Netflix in particular. Online video accounted for 14 per cent of all video content spend in India last year, the highest proportion of all our surveyed markets. Growth in online video budgets is also accelerating from a low base across much of Southeast Asia, although investment remains underweight in Thailand and Vietnam. Online video budgets are also constrained in Korea, due to the popularity of VoD services from incumbent IPTV platforms.”