At just over $4 billion, Google’s YouTube
is the biggest online video platform in the Asia-Pacific or APAC
region. The Chinese iQiyi and Tencent come at number two and three. At just under $1.5 billion, Netflix
is the sixth-largest by revenues.
It is estimated to hit 13.2 million subscribers in the region by the end of this year. Disney’s Hotstar is a distant eighth after Amazon
Prime Video, says a report released by Singapore-based Media Partners Asia on Wednesday (see chart). It confirms the trend India has seen with YouTube
dominating the market so far. In 2018, YouTube
reached a gargantuan 265 million Indians every month, with over Rs 2,000 crore in revenues making it a medium-scale broadcaster in its own right.
The top 15 operators by revenues will account for almost 70 per cent of the APAC
market in 2019 says the MPA report. While many global platforms don’t operate in China, outside of it the top three — YouTube, Netflix
— have more than half the APAC
market. China, however, remains the largest part of the APAC market, bringing in 59 per cent of the $27 billion, it is expected to generate in 2019.
The heartening trend in India is that subscription-driven online video is now roughly one-third of the sub-billion dollar market. That is good news
for the content ecosystem, which will continue with the party that began in 2017 when OTTs started ramping up their India presence.
In most parts of Southeast Asia, however, advertising will remain the cornerstone of the revenue pie.
“On the whole, standalone OTT video remains loss-making in Asia-Pacific. Also deft regulation will be key to fulfiling online video’s potential. In many instances, regulators are attempting to bring OTT regulations in line with broadcasting and pay-TV. Restrictions on foreign investment could inhibit best-of-breed competition while imposing TV content standards on niche online services may be counter-productive,” says Vivek Couto, executive director, MPA.
Are Indian regulators listening?