The video streaming market is experiencing a tremendous explosion in Southeast Asia, accelerated by a COVID-19-induced lockdown, and brands are waking up to the possibilities of the medium.
There has been a 60% increase in weekly average minutes viewed on online streaming platforms in Southeast Asia during lockdown, according to Media Partners Asia, with Viu the number one OTT in the region in terms of number of users and minutes viewed.
As a result, brands have become increasingly bullish on OTT, with a recent WFA and SpotX poll showing nearly half (47%) of brands are looking to increase spend on OTT between 10-20% in the next year.
But it’s not all plain sailing and there will be speed bumps, along with winners and losers.
There have been several casualties and false starts this year. Although US short-form mobile video platform Quibi amassed 1.7 million downloads in its first week of launch in April, it has since screeched to a halt. After the initial rush of subscribers, consumer interest has waned as industry pundits argue whether its strategy, marketing, content or all three failed.
In Asia, SingTel shuttered regional streaming platform Hooq in March, while short video darling TikTok has been banned in India, its biggest international market, and had earlier closed its Vigo Video and Vigo Lite services in the country. This shows that winning in the video market is high risk and high reward, and this is particularly true for Asia.
But Tencent's recent purchase of Malaysia-headquartered streaming service Iflix points to the importance of the region in OTT user growth.
The OTT landscape in Asia is as rich and diverse as the countries and cultures in the region and that requires experience and expertise to navigate successfully. In the US, the streaming landscape is dominated by the media giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu and HBO Now, who either have huge content libraries or billions of dollars to invest in production. In Asia, there is a mix of global, regional and local streaming services, making it a complex market where ownership is typically via a telecoms player, media company or broadcaster.
The key difference to the US and Europe is that OTT consumption is primarily mobile app-based in Asia. This offers significant benefits to advertisers and streaming platforms in terms of targeting, measurement, verification, fraud reduction and brand safety which are more advanced for app-based OTT versus connected TV.
Furthermore, the ad-supported (AVOD) model is growing rapidly in Asia, and new hybrid models are also emerging where consumers accept a low subscription fee with some ads. Both models are gaining traction with recent Brightcove research showing 51% of Asian consumers would prefer to pay no fee and watch ads or pay a low fee for fewer ads.
Those brands familiar with OTT have become more sophisticated and demanding in how they measure success and optimise and this is a reflection of its effectiveness versus other channels.
Based on recent OTT campaigns run via SpotX, brands are looking beyond CTR and viewability to embrace metrics like Completed View Rate (CVR), Cost Per Completed View (CPCV), Invalid Traffic (IVT), Time In View and On Target Reach (OTR). Additionally there is no cookie confusion as the digital ID of the user is locked in via app identifiers.
In addition, IAB analysis shows OTT and CTV being most resilient to pandemic-related CPM compression which means advertisers are still willing to pay premium prices for high quality inventory and audiences. Recent food and personal care OTT campaigns run via SpotX in Asia have achieved 90%+ viewability, in-view for 3 seconds, on target reach rates of more than 80% and invalid traffic rates of less than 0.6%.
These are attractive metrics for any marketer. With marketing budgets under intense pressure, only those media channels that deliver the highest efficiency, effectiveness and brand safety will remain on the plan. This is why OTT will become a consistent part of any brand marketer’s toolbox.
Gavin Buxton is the managing director of SpotX Asia.