Video content budgets in India, Korea and Southeast Asia grew 21% to $10.4 billion in 2021, and are expected to rise 15% to $12 billion in 2022, according to a report. Media Partners Asia (MPA) report.
Investment in Asian content surged last year as major operators “rebuilt content pipelines after the first waves of Covid depleted programming inventories in 2020”, according to the report titled Asia Video Content Dynamics 2022. .
The report tracks content consumption, investment and production costs in seven key Asian markets: India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Figures include investments in free-to-air (FTA), pay-TV, online video and cinema.
All of these verticals are growing, with the exception of motion pictures, which saw investment contract 2% as pandemic restrictions delayed releases in many markets. However, film investment is expected to increase by 140% in 2022 as theaters begin showing new locally produced films.
Pay-TV was the largest vertical in 2021 – accounting for 46% of the industry’s total content investment – reflecting the strength of the pay-TV sectors in India and Korea.
OTT content was the fastest growing vertical, up 83% year over year to become the second largest vertical with 26% of industry investment. FTA ranked third with 25% of the total.
Korea and India were the largest content investment markets with a combined total of $7.4 billion; generating particularly strong growth in OTT investments. Other markets reach between $400 and $900 million each, with Thailand and Indonesia also contributing significantly to the growth of OTT investments.
The report revealed that growth will continue in 2022, albeit at a slower pace, with investment up around 15% to $12 billion. Again, India and Korea drove the bulk of the increase, but all markets and verticals are expected to grow. Investment in online video content will increase by nearly $700 million.
“Inflation, particularly with online originals, is clearly a factor driving up content costs. Operators, broadcasters and online video producers need to see that higher budgets translate into more premium; otherwise cost increases will not be sustainable,” MPA Vice Chairman Stephen Laslocky said, commenting on the report.
“Internationally successful programs remain the Holy Grail content license that so far only Korean dramas and some anime as well as US and UK content have achieved sustained success. Some Thai content has achieved success outside of Thailand. Quality production values, solid youth-focused storylines online will be the building blocks of future investment strategies.
Laslocky also said the expansion of the online video sector “has been a boon for independent producers” as profit margins have stabilized at 10% or more across much of the region.
“More can be done to support independent producers, including additional compensation for original concepts, commensurate rewards for breakout successes, and expanded use of pipeline deals (which allows producers to recover overhead costs from more reliably). In exchange, producers must be transparent with production costs. Commissioners must be willing and able to verify costs.
The report also revealed that television ratings continued to decline as viewers switched to online video. However, video consumption remains biased towards UGC platforms (YouTube, TikTok etc) which represent 95% of consumption in Vietnam and 82% in Korea.