Asia-Pac SVOD subscribers, revenue gains outpacing slowing pay-TV market

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Consumers' desire to build their own bundles hold SVOD saturation at bay

The Asia Pacific region is set to add SVOD subscribers at 3.2x the rate of expected gains in pay tv subscribers, despite the effects of the coronavirus and a downturn in the Chinese economy, new research shows.

Asia-Pac will have 417 million SVOD subscribers by 2025, up from 269 million in 2019. That compares to an expected 45 million subscriber-add for pay TV over the same period to 676 million, according to Digital TV Research.

The region’s SVOD revenues are expected to reach $18.25 billion in 2025, an increase of $8 billion from 2019. Both numbers are being negatively impacted by the coronavirus and general economic malaise in the region, especially China. Pay TV, meanwhile, is expected to see revenues grow just $1.4 billion in the next five years.

SVOD subscribers growth big in India, China

Still, the biggest growth of SVOD subscribers will come, not surprisingly, in China, with 269 subscribers in 2025 (iQiyi and Tencent will have the lion’s share, 100.7 million and 99.6 million respectively). The pay-TV market in China is expected to be, essentially, flat over the next five years, peaking in 2020 and starting a gradual decline in subscribers through 2025.

Despite the coronavirus – or, perhaps, because of it – this is a could be a very good time to launch an OTT service in Asia-Pac, especially a niche service that delivers content unavailable anywhere else.

India’s SVOD total is expected to double to 45 million, double its 2019 total, with about 20.3 million coming from US-based customers like Netflix, Amazon and Disney+. India’s pay-TV market, meanwhile, is forecast to add 24.3 million subs to reach 183.1 million overall.

In the region, Netflix is expected to reach 34.3 million subs, Amazon 23.6 million, Disney+ 15.5 million and Apple TV+ 2.1 million. Outside of China, other SVOD subscriptions are expected to top 47.3 million, significantly more than Netflix, suggesting there remains plenty of room for more niche streamers to thrive.

Pay TV sees mixed gains… more losses

The pay-TV industry has struggled in the US with marked subscriber declines in recent years. DTVR’s research shows a mixed outlook for operators in Asia-Pac, as well. India, as noted above is expected to see some growth, as is Indonesia, which is expected to add 7.3 million subscribers, China, Japan and South Korea are expected to be flat.

India and China will make up about 80% of the region’s pay-TV market by 2025.

But pay-TV growth across the region likely will be due to an increasing number of TV households, forecast to grow by 65 million to 978 million in 2025.

The bottom line

Asia Pac is home to more than half the world’s population and, with its more than 4 billion people seeing gains in household income, as well as disposable income, it will be a growing target for pay TV and streaming operators alike.

Streaming already is showing a more robust subscriber growth curve, as well as larger gains in revenue as younger users continue to drive SVOD adoption, and more players enter the market.

Despite the coronavirus – or, perhaps, because of it – this is a could be a very good time to launch an OTT service in Asia-Pac, especially a niche service that delivers content unavailable anywhere else. The ability to offer an extended trial during these difficult times could help drive potential customers to your platform.

Asia Pac’s pay-TV market may be the most robust in the world, but streaming is gaining at a remarkable pace.

Stay tuned… and stay well.

Jim O’Neill is Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn