Disney Plus Leads Premium Streaming Surge in Southeast Asia (Report)

Disney Plus made the greatest progress among premium streaming platforms in Southeast Asia in the first quarter of the year, according to new research.

AMPD Research, affiliated with Media Partners Asia, said that the video streaming market leader remains YouTube with a 68% share, ahead of TikTok with 21% in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Premium (paying and ad-supported) video accounted for 10% of streaming minutes.

The researcher uses passive measuring systems installed with permission on users’ devices as well as regular surveys.

Within the premium sector, Netflix is by far the leader, accounting for some 40% of streaming time. It is followed by Viu (15%), Tencent’s WeTV (13%), China’s iQIYI (10%) and Indonesia’s Vidio (9%). Disney Plus and its Disney Plus Hotstar iteration accounted for around 2% of viewing time in the premium sector, though that share could increase in upcoming quarters.

The region added some 4.9 million paying subscribers between January and March, with Disney Plus / Disney Plus Hotstar accounting for more than 1.9 million of them. Disney’s subscriptions surge meant that it now ranks second in the region in premium subscription numbers, with an estimated 4.6 million. That is behind Netflix and ahead of Asian regional player Viu.

“Disney Plus / Disney Plus Hotstar added approximately 2 million subscribers in Q1 2021, driven by growth in Indonesia and a successful launch in Singapore in late-February,” AMPD said. “While (Disney Plus Hotstar) consumption has slowed significantly in Indonesia, consumption and uptake is expected to grow steadily in Singapore with the expansion of Disney Plus’ Star content and release of new Marvel original series.”

Viu continued to grow, largely due to traction in the Philippines where its partnership with Smart boosted subscriber growth through a strong local marketing campaign. “The strength of Viu’s first-window Korean drama slate and telco integrations (data packages, sachet pricing, direct carrier billing) across Southeast Asia helps sustain subscriber uptake,” AMPD said.

The two Chinese streaming rivals may also be making progress, albeit in different territories. WeTV’s growth is concentrated in Thailand and Indonesia, while iQIYI is strongest in Malaysia.

“In Thailand, WeTV’s premium Chinese drama and variety series are gaining popularity while WeTV’s hit local originals in Indonesia drove subscriber uptake, AMPD said. “iQIYI’s subs growth was driven by Malaysia, where a partnership with Astro provides discounted iQIYI subscription to Astro pay-TV customers. iQIYI’s premium Chinese dramas and variety are steadily gaining popularity across SE Asia.

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