The success of Korean shows “Vincenzo” and “Squid Game” and Japanese anime such as “Attack on Titan” are justifying Netflix’s heavy spending on Asian film and TV content.
The streaming giant is forecast to grow its revenues in the Asia-Pacific region by 24% in the current year as subscriber numbers swell by 20%, according to new research, from Singapore based consultancy Media Partners Asia.
That optimism stands in contrast to investment sentiment in January when Netflix announced its December quarter and 2021 full year data and a spooked the financial community with a cautious (global) first quarter outlook.
Media Partners Asia’ latest note on the company indicates that Netflix could grow APAC revenues by 24% in the current year to December, to $4.1 billion. Subscriber numbers are forecast to climb 20% to 39.1 million. The strongest growth is in Australia, Japan, South Korea and parts of Southeast Asia.
Japan is forecast to generate 2022 revenues of $1 billion; Australia to be worth $976 million, and Korea $751. Southeast Asia will contribute 18% of the regional total, or close to $750 million, led by Thailand and the Philippines.
Media Partners Asia estimates that Netflix will allocate local content spending of $450 million in Japan, $120 million in Australia and $750 million in Korea. The company last year said that it would spend close to $500 million on Korean content in 2021, but it has not publicly offered a figure for the current year.
Given the exportability of Korean and Japanese content, that kind of spending may be justified. Media Partners Asia says that “Netflix’s economics will further improve [in Asia-Pacific] in 2022.”
“Korean originals and acquisitions had strong travelability and impact in 2021,” said Media Partners Asia, led by “Vincenzo” and “Squid Game.” In 2022, of the ten new titles released through Q1 (8 series, 2 movies), 7 Korean dramas rank among the top 12 titles in the Asian territories measured by MPA’s sister company AMPD (Korea, Southeast Asia, Japan, Taiwan and Australia). This year’s leaders include “All of us Are Dead,” “Our Beloved Summer” and “Juvenile Justice.”
Significantly, Korean dramas with weekly episode releases “have had a more sustained impact on consumer demand compared to those with bulk episode releases,” the researcher said.
Netflix’s acquired anime has travelability across the region, led by “Black Clover.” Original anime has yet to have significant impact. Some local big ones in Japan don’t travel, but the big ones that do are “Demon Slayer” (limited territories) and “Attack on Titan.” Both series released new episodes through the first quarter of 2022.
“Korean dramas and Netflix’s US originals are expected to retain influence through 2022,” said Media Partners Asia. “With growing investment, Japanese live-action and unscripted Japanese and Korean reality shows could become breakout genres in 2022.”
India remains a substantially tougher story for Netflix. In order to stay in the game, Netflix cut its India prices across plans by 20-60%. That had an immediate effect and boosted Netflix’s share of streaming minutes viewed in India from 5% of the total to 7%. But it still lags market leader Disney+ Hotstar with 34%.
Media Partners Asia estimates that India will generate the highest subscriber growth of any APAC market for Netflix in 2022 with 2.2 million net additions, but the reduced revenue per consumer, will flatten revenue growth. It forecasts $261 million in 2022 compared with $236 million in 2021.