Production spend by online video companies in East and South Asia grew by some 80% last year, driven by competition between platforms for local series and movies, according to a report.

That battle for original content between streaming platforms meant that the online video sector accounted for a 30% share of incremental production investment in countries tracked by consultancy Media Partners Asia. The company’s latest Asia Video Content Dynamics report covers TV, movie and online video content expenditure across India, South Korea and Southeast Asia’s five biggest growth markets (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam).

Total production spending in the seven countries rose 8% in 2017 to reach $10.2 billion. The biggest increases came in India, where expenditure rose by 14% to reach $4.2 billion. Korea grew at a slower 7%, but was the second largest component, worth $3 billion.

“Pay-TV content costs in the surveyed markets grew 5%, led by India and Korea and driven by local entertainment and sports. Free-to-air content investment was up 6% in 2017. Scale and growth in free-to-air content investment is largely attributable to Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, driven by local entertainment. Film production budgets in the surveyed markets were up 10%, driven by Korea and India,” said the report’s author and Media Partners Asia VP Stephen Laslocky.

India’s expanding production investment was driven by both pay-TV and “well-capitalized global and local (streaming) platforms. “This trend should continue over the next three years,” the report predicted.

“Growth (in Korea) will likely accelerate when China eventually lifts its ban on Korean dramas, movies and talent. Online video content investment in Korea is also starting to accelerate and will continue to do so over the course of 2018-19,” the report forecast.

While free-to-air TV dominates video content investment in SE Asia, the pace of growth slowed substantially in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam due to a deceleration and broader volatility in TV advertising.

Content investment in Malaysia shrank. That was a result of Astro cutting its spend on international pay channels and soft free-to-air advertising which blunted the Media Prima group’s ability to invest. “The outlook for Malaysia could improve as new government policies bolster economic growth, broadening consumer spend and ad dollars,” the report said.