June 15, 2016
By Haridas K.
The Asia-Pacific region is now a favourite haven for medium-to long-term over-the-top video streaming services. Since 2015, broadband adoption has seen notable market traction in several countries including Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. In light of the implementation of various OTT initiatives by local and out-of-market OTT players, Asia may eventually become one of the world’s liveliest OTT playing fields.
Australian OTT had a busy first quarter in 2015, with three OTT services launched. Global player Netflix Inc. began its Asia-Pacific expansion with launches in Australia and New Zealand in March 2015, following the January launches of FOXTEL’s Presto and StreamCo’s Stan. Subscription prices of the three services are similar, with Netflix’s basic plan priced at A$8.99 and Stan at A$10.00 per month for unlimited access to TV and movies.
Presto provides more subscription options to the Australian market by offering movie- and TV-focused monthly plans, each priced at A$9.99, and a combination of TV and movies for A$14.99. Quickflix, an established OTT player in Australia, shares the A$9.99 price point.
In Japan, Netflix has entered into several local partnerships. Its tie-up with SoftBank lets customers of the local mobile carrier sign up for Netflix through SoftBank’s shops. A content deal between Netflix and Fuji Television Network Inc. was announced in June 2015, with the local broadcaster committing to produce and provide original content for Netflix distribution. Programmes to be available include a new season of Fuji Television’s popular reality TV show Terrace House, and Atelier, a new drama series. Netflix is also set for the global launch of its first original Japanese series, Hibana, which means spark.
Similar to its approach in other markets, Netflix offers three monthly subscription plans in Japan. Its basic subscription plan is currently priced at ¥650 (pre-tax), its standard plan at ¥950 (pre-tax) and its premium plan at ¥1,450 (pre-tax). A major competitor in the market, Hulu, currently prices its monthly subscription plan at ¥933 (pre-tax). Hulu Japan was launched by Hulu LLC in 2011 and acquired by Nippon Television in February 2014.
Following the Netflix launch announcement, in August 2015 Amazon.com Inc. announced the launch of Prime Instant Video in Japan in September. Another Japanese OTT entrant, Bonobo, also launched later last year. The service, owned by Japan Contents Group, will offer movies, music, anime and dramas on a transactional basis.