Akamai Media Summit APAC 2020: ‘Gaming slated to overtake linear TV revenues soon’

In the first session of the media summit, Pioneer Consulting Asia-Pacific's Virat Patel & David Ratner explored the topic of emerging video trends in the times of COVID-19

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Sep 18, 2020 9:09 AM

Over the past year, we have observed a tremendous change, with new trends emerging in the video sector especially in the APAC region. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this disruption, transforming the internet more than ever for work, socializing and most of all, entertainment. Now, consumers are signing up for multiple streaming services and consuming an unprecedented volume of digital content. 

The Akamai Media Summit APAC 2020 which took place yesterday had sessions on these new trends emerging in the video ecosystem as a result of the pandemic, how that will play out in 2021 in the APAC region and how media organisations can navigate the new normal post-COVID-19. 

The first session was ‘Market Overview: Emerging Trends of Video with the Impact of COVID-19.’ Sharing insights on this topic were Virat Patel, MD, Pioneer Consulting Asia-Pacific and David Ratner, Senior Manager, Pioneer Consulting Asia-Pacific. 

The pace of change for video globally is rapid and new trends are emerging constantly. With COVID-19 forcing people to stay indoors, media consumption has skyrocketed. This session addressed the emerging trends, market drivers and challenges shaping the future of the media industry. 

Starting off the virtual presentation, Patel shared, “Today’s session is on Video but gaming cannot be ignored. The gaming industry is slated to overtake linear TV revenues soon. It is growing even more alongside the growth of OTT and is becoming the core of peoples entertainment.” 

Sharing his learnings about the impact of COVID on Video, Ratner said, “The total time spent has increased by 58% YoY growth for June 2020 vs June 2019. The total Monthly Active Users (MAU) has increased by 37% YoY growth for June 2020 vs June 2019.” 

Sharing if this growth trend will carry on Post-COVID, Ratner says, “According to research by PCA Analysis, 45% of consumers say that they are permanently going to change their viewing habits after COVID blows over. This adoption of people watching more content and spending more time on digital platforms is going to stay.” 

Ratner broke down the increase in usage of SVOD vs. AVOD in Thailand and Indonesia: “SVOD has seen a drastic growth in both countries than AVOD did but it was all from a much lower base. Specifically, when you look at the numbers in Indonesia with SVOD at 77% growth (for 1.98 billion minutes) and AVOD at 73% growth (for 54 billion minutes). We are seeing this growth data as a catalyst. When we look back at this pandemic it will sit as the catalyst of SVOD in growth in these to APAC regions.” 

Focusing his attention on the inconvenience caused by too many ads on online video content platforms, Ratner pointed out: "When consumers were asked if they would pay for premium content,  two thirds of those in Thailand said they wouldn’t pay for content even though ads were an inconvenience. Monthly subscriptions were the preferred option for those who would like to pay for premium content.” 

He then underscored the four emerging trends in video as a response to COVID: 

Group Viewing/Social Watching: In a COVID-19 impacted world, we are watching content on our devices but are now doing it in a far more social way. The trend of communicating with each other whilst watching the content has emerged. A number of platforms have now emerged to cater to this behaviour. "A platform like ‘Netflix Party’ prior to the pandemic was relatively unknown now they have racked up about 10 million plus users over this period," he stated. 

Cinema at Home: Due to cinema halls being shut down, we have seen movies that would typically be released in theatres now going directly to consumers on digital platforms. 

Ratner shared that in China, movies have been directly released on AVOD platforms being monetized through advertisements and sponsorships. He remarked, “In other countries, we have seen movies being released in SVOD platforms as part of the library for subscribers free of charge. We have also seen that some movies being released in a pay per view model.” 

Short Form Video as a Swiss Army Knife: Short-form video got a boost due to the pandemic. "In China, the average time spent on short video apps has also increased this year by 35% and these videos are really capturing people’s attention. But the point is that short-form is not only used for entertainment or by specific short-form platforms but other platforms are starting to use this strategy as well. EdTech and a lot of educational platforms are using short-form videos. We are seeing the health and wellness space players, which were typically audio platforms, now incorporating more short-form content. Even dating apps like ‘Tinder with video’ offers you short-form content in that space. The most impactful platform has been e-commerce where videos during the lockdown are driving a lot of e-commerce volume," he said. 

Return of the Bundle: Like traditional cable, OTT platforms are also being bundled together. Currently we are seeing is that most of these bundles are actually by the same owner. Ratner said that in the States, ESPN, HULU and Disney+ are bundled together at a cheaper price. "But going forward, what we expect is third party platforms to start to aggregate different platforms from different owners to provide more value to the users. Because of the economic impact of COVID that is certainly going to be important from a consumer perspective," he added. 

Ratner remarked, “COVID helped spurred the growth of gaming both in terms of eyeballs and revenue. 51% of users said that they have been spending money on video games during the lockdown period in Singapore. A lot of the growth in the gaming industry is going to be driven by South East Asia and India. We see a 35% growth per year in India from 2020-2023. This growth is being driven by the rise of mobile gaming. Games are also being used as engagement tools by major e-Commerce platforms (like Shopee) and video platforms (like Tik Tok).” 

On a concluding note, Patel said, “In 2020, the pandemic has unveiled new content opportunities. In 2021 forecast, we look forward to newly engaged digital content sectors that will emerge. Where E-Commerce, AVOD and mobile gaming the market penetration of these sectors will be higher in the next year with E-Commerce taking the lead.”

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