Digital TV Research: Asia-Pacific Region to Add 205 Million SVOD Subs by 2027, Led by China

The Asia-Pacific region is projected to have 746 million SVOD subscriptions by 2027, up from 541 million in 2021, according to data analysis from Digital TV Research. China would account for 364 million SVOD subscriptions — or 49% of the region’s total, according to the projections. India would add 92 million subs to reach 176 million.

Major U.S.-based platforms Netflix, Disney+, Paramount+, HBO Max, Prime Video and Apple TV+ are projected to account for only a quarter of the region’s SVOD subscriptions — much lower than in any other region in the world. Notably, Netflix generated its only global subscriber gains (1 million) in the Asia-Pacific region in the most-recent fiscal quarter, ended June 30.

“These platforms will never gain access to China, and India has plenty of local [streaming] players,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

Disney+ overtook Netflix in total subscribers (when combined with Hulu and ESPN+) in 2020 — almost entirely due to its success in India. Disney+ Hotstar reshaped the SVOD landscape in India, mainly by controlling the rights to India Premier League cricket. Disney+ Hotstar did not retain those rights. The platform will lose 4.5 million subscribers in 2022 and 10 million in 2023 before plateauing, according to Digital TV Research.

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Assuming that Disney+ retained the IPL rights in India, the previous forecasts estimated 127 million Disney+ subscribers across the region by 2027.

“Our revised forecasts predict 66 million by 2027 — 61 million less than before,” Murray wrote in the report.

‘Squid Game’ Could Drive Netflix Asia Sub Growth

Netflix original South Korean series “Squid Game” generated 142 million households watching the horror show worldwide in its first 28 days on the SVOD platform.

New data from Bloomberg Intelligence suggests Netflix could double its Asian subscriber count with the addition of other localized content. The SVOD pioneer ended the most-recent fiscal period with more than 30 million Asia Pacific region subs, including 2.2 million net new subs — the highest regional gain.

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“So far this year, almost half of Netflix’s new users came from this region, where the company has just 16% penetration in its targeted market,” Bloomberg analysts Geena Ranganathan and Kevin Near wrote in a note.

The analysts contend the streamer could double subscribers to more than 65 million by 2024. They believe Netflix could capture 30% of the Asian-Pacific’s 214 million broadband households, with the region representing 22% of Netflix’s 2024 subscriber base compared with the current 14%.

In the United States, Netflix household penetration is near 60%, with Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) around 26%, and Latin America at 45%.

Other Netflix strongholds in Asia, include Japan, with 23% of APAC households, excluding China), South Korea (12%) and India (14%).

Ranganathan and Near say Netflix got off to a strong start in the current 4Q and could top its 8.5 million projected subscriber additions. They cited Sensor Tower data that suggested a 26% increase in global downloads from Oct. 1-20, compared with the previous-year period.

“Returning hit shows such as ‘The Witcher,’ ‘You,’ ‘Money Heist,’ ‘Emily in Paris’ and ‘Tiger King,’ could help sustain momentum through the rest of the year, while movies like Red Notice and Don’t Look Up may increase engagement,” they wrote.

Disney+ Hotstar Tops Netflix Subs in Asia Pacific Region

Disney+ ended the most-recent fiscal period (ended July 3) with 116 million subscribers, with one-third (38 million) from India. The latter was enough for Disney to surpass Netflix’s 28 million subs in the Asia Pacific region, which includes India.

While Disney+ sub growth has been impressive, it had a huge advantage from the start with the inclusion of the Hotstar streaming service Disney obtained via its $71.3 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox.

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The Disney+ sub tally includes Disney+ Hotstar, which launched April 3, 2020, in India (as a conversion of the pre-existing Hotstar service); on Sept. 5, 2020, in Indonesia; on June 1, 2021, in Malaysia; and on June 30, 2021, in Thailand.

Disney+ will reach 121 million subscribers by 2026, double its 2021 total, according to new data from Digital TV Research.

The London-based research firm contends Asia Pacific will have 698 million SVOD subscriptions by 2026, up from 502 million at end of the year. China will provide 354 million SVOD subscriptions in 2026 — or half of the region’s total. India will reach 157 million.

“China will remain dominant, although its growth will slow,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

Murray suggests Chinese government crackdowns on video game access to minors and reality programming to adults will slow SVOD growth.

“New online anti-fan regulations that … force SVOD platforms to screen fewer reality shows, will dampen interest in SVOD,” Murray said.

Report: Asia Pacific to Top 630 Million Pay-TV Subs by 2026

New data from Digital TV Research found the Asia Pacific region will actually grow its pay-TV subscribers, expanding to 630 million by 2026, up from 609 million at end of 2020.

Driving growth in the region will be India, which will add 21 million subs, while China and India together will have nearly 500 million subs. Meanwhile, the number of TV households in the region will grow by 54 million to 979 million.

Driving the growth will be online TV, with IPTV subscribers overtaking cable in 2024. Online TV will add 51 million subs between 2020 and 2026 to take its total to 283 million. Digital and analog cable subscriptions will fall by 19 million and 13 million, respectively. The satellite TV sector will increase by 2 million subs to take the total to 83 million.

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While online TV sub growth surges, analyst Simon Murray says linear pay-TV remains in decline.

“Six countries will lose pay-TV subs between 2020 and 2026,” Murray said in a statement. “Most will be developed countries, but China is also included. China will fall by 10 million subscribers. This is cord-cutting, but represents only a 3% decline to 318 million.”

DTV: Asia Pacific to Add 467 Million SVOD Subs by 2025

Asia Pacific will have 467 million SVOD subscriptions by 2025, up from 267 million in 2019, according to new data from Digital TV Research. The London-based firm said China will contribute 279 million SVOD subscriptions in 2025 — or 60% of the region’s total. India will supply a further 66 million — triple its 2019 total.

Among the 200 million SVOD subscription additions between 2019 and 2025, China will supply 80 million, Japan 22 million and India 45 million. China will add 27 million SVOD subscribers in 2020 alone.

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“Although China dominates the region, there will be plenty of growth elsewhere,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “Netflix will have 44.4 million subscribers by 2025; closely followed by Disney+ [including Hotstar] with 43.6 million.”

Report: Asia Pacific SVOD Subs to Reach 417 Million by 2025

Despite the negative impact from the coronavirus and the Chinese economic downturn, Asia Pacific will have 417 million streaming video-on-demand subscriptions by 2025, up from 269 million in 2019, according to new data from Digital TV Research.

The London-based company said China would have 269 million SVOD subs in 2025 — or 65% of the region’s total. India will supply a further 45 million — more than double its 2019 total.

Three Chinese companies will top the DTR’s Asia Pacific SVOD subscriber rankings in 2025 — with two recording 100 million subscribers. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which do not operate independently in China, will take fourth and fifth places respectively.

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“The top five platforms [Tencent Video, Iqiyi, Netflix, Disney+ and Youku Tudou] will account for two-thirds of the region’s SVOD revenue by 2025,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

Netflix’s revenue will more than double between 2019 and 2025 to $3.19 billion. Disney+ will generate $1 billion in 2025. Asia Pacific SVOD total revenue will reach $18.25 billion in 2025; up by $8 billion on 2019.

“These forecasts are lower than our previous edition,” Murray said.

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