Written by: Roshan Dwivedi
Major movie studio labels in Hollywood are beginning to join forces with telcos and streaming startups in Southeast Asia to expand their audience bases radically, something Netflix did in the US. Let;s not forget that its a fast-growing region dominated by piracy, poor mobile internet connections and inconsistent payment services.
They seem to have aa plan in place. Mnay of them have adopted unique strategies like slashed down subscriptions of $3 a month, options to pay in cash, courier pickup and negotiated rights that allow users to download the latest movies or television series over public WiFi connections and queue up to be watched on their smartphones later.
HOOQ : The Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures Television joint effort along with SingTel is worth at $100m. The service currently covers Philippines, Thailand and India.
iFlix : iflix begun with a seeding of $30m by PLDT, the Philippines’ largest telco, Evolution Media Capital, an investment bank set up by Creative Artists Agency; and Australian startup veteran Patrick Grove. It is available in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand with Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam queued up for launches.
In developed nations like US, video streaming services provided by Netflix and Amazon grew rapidly thanks to internet speed, high fixed-line broadband connectivity and more transient credit card payment.
The same model will not work in a volatile market like Southeast Asia. Lack of premium content and deficient law enforcement has given scope to many Southeast Asians to turn to content piracy in the form of buying counterfeit DVDs and torrents.
However, as India and China start their domination of streaming markets and the consumer base grows, there will be more visible trend on the movement of viewers towards VOD services.