Asia is an incredibly diverse region covering almost half of the world’s population and has everything from gleaming skyscrapers and well-paid bankers to farmers with one cow in a shed in the countryside. It’s clearly a huge challenge to roll out any type of service in a territory like this.
However, growth is strong in the region. We see a rapidly growing middle class, an emerging pay TV market, strong local content providers and a tech savvy, young population. Despite this, Asia has been a laggard in terms of providing truly compelling OTT services. Some early examples have appeared in the developed markets, but we haven’t seen the same break through as in Europe and North America.
Coming back from this year’s BroadcastAsia I conclude that the region has taking huge steps to catching up with the rest of the world. New OTT intiatives are being launched everywhere, many of them powered by Accedo and our partners. Consumer demand is high with subscriber forecasts in the millions and there is a desire to innovate in ways we haven’t seen before.
There are two drivers behind this change. First of all, we finally see that price points for smart phones and mobile data plan, combined with increased spending power creates a critical mass of potential consumers all over the region. Secondly, content providers have taken a stand to fight back against piracy. It’s suddenly easier to get content rights in Asia for OTT delivered services than ever before. Content providers have realized that they’re just losing on the previous models, where sometimes more than 90% of the video consumption in a market is piracy.
I believe that Asia will continue to grow rapidly over the next couple of years and catch up with both North America and Europe to be the region with most OTT video users. We will still see a very low ARPU from these users, but the market will go through an extremely interesting evolution.