×

Asian Content Success Built on Multiple OTT Business Models

The importance of knowing what’s trending on video in Asia was underlined Tuesday when YouTube’s international marketing director Sean Park told FilMart delegates that Asia now accounts for five of its top 10 territories in the world – even without China, where the Google-owned platform is not allowed to operate.

A day earlier, executives from Asian-based streaming firms pointed to the success – and diversity – of local content as driving their different business models.

“Local content – acquired and produced – performed six times better than Western content for us in 2018. That’s why we’ve done an about-turn [and increased original content spending],” said Craig Galvin, chief content officer at multinational streaming company iflix.

“We are making series where we put out first the three episodes for free on YouTube, and then monitor our conversion rate of people coming to our site for the rest of the show,” said Dennis Yang, an advisor to Taiwan-based video streaming firm KKTV, a sister company to music streamer KKBOX. “We intend to produce 20 to 30 per year like that and make some feature films from certain ones.”

Asian streaming companies are operating with hybrid business models that span free-to-use advertising-supported and paid subscription versions.

“SVOD and [advertising video on demand (AVOD)] work side by side, with a four-day difference,” said Thawatvongse Silamanonda, Thailand country manager, for Viu, the Hong Kong-based regional player, explaining that subscribers get content before that content is released for “free” users. “We are also competing against piracy. That’s a strong reason to launch AVOD,” said Galvin.

Bill Sondheim, president of Cinedigm, which straddles the U.S. and China, said that there had been two major trends in North America. driven by Asian content in the past 20 years. “First was Japanese anime, which is now no longer about geeks and has crossed over to the mainstream. The second has been Korean content,” Sondheim said, who predicts that Chinese content could be the next to cross over.

The company is currently readying Bambu, a streaming service for North America and built on Chinese content. Korean shows in the U.S. were initially popular with younger groups, before becoming more mainstream. “Our target therefore is to find younger TV shows appealing to the 20-25 year-old. We are looking for Chinese series and recent movies, and staying away from traditional costume dramas.”

Within Asia, Korean content is among the most widely viewed regional content, a position that used to belong to Hong Kong film and TV shows a decade ago. “Korean content has really opened up international,” said Jennifer Batty, chief content officer at Hooq. “But in the past two years, Thai content is increasingly being watched.”

The global streaming platforms are not dominant in most of Asia, but remain important, and can address a global audience. “Pororo” was an example of a traditional Korean animation series that used YouTube to reach beyond its conventional markets, said Park. Korean kids series “Baby Shark” is new generation show, built for the OTT era, Park noted. He said that “Baby Shark” had become the most watched educational video series ever, with 5 billion views last year and over 60 million subscribers to its YouTube channel.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for

    YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for AMC Networks' Acorn TV, UMC

    Google’s YouTube TV now offers two more add-on channels to subscribers, under an expanded pact with AMC Networks: British TV service Acorn TV and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), which features a selection of black TV and film titles. Acorn TV’s add-on channel is now available via YouTube TV for $6 per month and UMC is [...]

  • homepod-white-shelf

    Apple Said to Prep Cheaper HomePod for 2020

    Apple is getting ready to introduce a cheaper version of its HomePod smart speaker in 2020, Bloomberg reported Thursday. The company is also working on a new version of its AirPod headphones for next year, according to Bloomberg. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The new version of the HomePod is said [...]

  • Eminem Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Copyright

    Eminem Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Massive Copyright Infringement

    Eight Mile Style, a publishing company that holds administration rights to Eminem’s early catalog, filed a major copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify late Thursday, claiming that the streaming giant has no license to host about 250 of Eminem’s songs, while also taking aim at the Music Modernization Act, the federal law enacted last year to [...]

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    China’s iQIYI in Talks for Indonesia Expansion

    Chinese streaming firm iQIYI is in negotiations to expand further into Southeast Asia through a venture with Indonesia’s Media Nusantara Citra. iQIYI announced its first step outside Chinese-majority territories in June, when it revealed a linkup in Malaysia with pay-TV leader Astro. It also operates in Taiwan. In April, the company said that it planned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content