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MPA: Asian content spend grows 8% across seven markets

TV, movie and online video content spend in seven major Asian markets grew by 8% in 2017 to reach US$10.2 billion, according to independent consulting and research firm Media Partners Asia (MPA).

The 2018 edition of MPA’s Asia Video Content Dynamics looked at content spend across India, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and found that aggregate incremental growth in video content spend for pay TV was 38% and for online video was 30%.

The biggest increases came from India where video content budgets climbed by 14% to top US$4.2 billion in 2017. This was driven by pay TV, but MPA noted that content investment in India’s online video market is also “growing rapidly,” with this trend expected to continue in the coming years.

In South Korea, investment in video content increased by 7% during 2017 to approach US$3.0 billion. However, MPA said it expects growth to accelerate when China “eventually lifts its ban on Korean dramas, movies and talent”, with online video content investment also starting to accelerate.

“In general, content investment dynamics are favourable with content investment growing,” said MPA vice president, Stephen Laslocky. “Pay TV content costs in the surveyed markets grew 5%, led by India and Korea and driven by local entertainment and sports.

“Free-to-air content investment was up 6% in 2017. Scale and growth in free-to-air content investment is largely attributable to Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, driven by local entertainment. Film production budgets in the surveyed markets were up 10%, driven by Korea and India.

“Online video investment is growing rapidly from a low base, up almost 80% during 2017. Rising competitive intensity is driving up online video content costs as rival platforms produce and acquire local series and movies, especially in India and Korea. We expect online video content investment to also pick up in emerging markets across Southeast Asia, led by Indonesia and the Philippines.”

Overall, drama was found to drive audience share region-wide with a “fair degree of cross-pollination across markets” – for instance Korean dramas air throughout the region and Indian dramas have done well in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Sport was also found to rate highly across the region.