Asia’s media and entertainment business will convene in Bali, Indonesia for the 6th edition of Asia-Pacific Video Operators summit this April, with several key topics up for discussion. The pinnacle comes well appropriate as the shift in the industry is being felt well beyond what’s on screen. On top of that, 2016 thus has seen an unprecedented level of shakeups at the top management levels of the pan-regional groups and, many new kids in the block. Vivek Couto, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Media Partners Asia (MPA), the industry veteran with strong analytical background and a powerful global network shares how APOS was conceptualised together with co-founder Rupert Wilkinson.
“We started out looking into the cable and satellite and telco industries with in depth research reports and publishing. When we launched MPA in 2000-01, it was launched as an integrated business entity to really look at the business of media and telecommunications in the local markets across Asia- pseudo pan regional approaches would be challenging for our business and the industry as a whole. We were very much committed to tracking the markets in local depth, especially on the content, distribution and technology side. Business models could be advertising or subscription funded and we were really looking at pay-TV business, free TV business and the broadband which was starting out in Asia then. We focused on research reports, conferences and consulting. Now all forms of business have taken off well and we want to scale up more in the future. We are very fortunate and remain humble. The business has evolved in a sense that we are now looking at digital video platforms, which includes SVOD and social video” said Vivek.
Founded in March 2001 in Hong Kong by the two media experts with in-depth insight into the Asian landscape, MPA tracks all 16 markets in Asia-Pacific with offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and India.
Vivek explains, “It is very important for us to look at all markets – the big markets like Australia, China, India, Japan and Korea and also South East Asia which is very important to us particularly, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Other important markets in Asia would include India, and Taiwan. We are also hosting small private events in Shanghai, China and Korea later this year.
“We produce digital reports that the community uses with much ease – broadcasters, distribution platforms, investors and the financial community and so forth. And basically we have regional reports and local reports. They look at the pay-TV, free TV, broadband and OTT markets. This would also include VOD, subscription VOD, and advertising VOD. As for emerging market, China is very big on this side today. We launched APOS in 2010 – after 10 years we decided that it would be great to gather and aggregate our knowledge and information and build an ecosystem for the video business looking at pay-TV and OTT in particular as well as broadband via APOS.”
APOS started out in 2010 pay-TV based event but has evolved rapidly to take in all forms of content creation and distribution with APOS focusing on the industry through a commercial lens and investment focus.
“As we evolved, the video segment has taken a broader definition where you have to look at the distribution of content and in various forms. Pay-TV together with the likes of satellite and IPTV business, and some of the players were growing then. We have to look at the OTT market which we are very much looking into at APOS which is distributed to various other platforms. We also have to understand what social platforms- such as Facebook, Google and Twitter- are up to.
“APOS today is all about content creation and distribution, business models surrounding the ecosystem and how they compete. It is a unique platform for people to discuss ideas, have great conversations, and strike deals. Over the years, great deals have come up from these meetings. This year, there will be a strong focus on the North Asian side of the market with Korea and China producing and distributing content. We will look into new distribution through telcos and mobile and there’ll be large telcos represented and speaking at APOS for the first time. And of course, the newer forms of platforms that have emerged and producing content such as Vice Media, Netflix, Facebook that are all into this melting pot that we brew together.”
As for the success of APOS, he explained, “The success is a rounded experience (revenue / c-level participant / renowned speakers). APOS has a good impact on the system and a good impact on the business. We want to improve it and try to make it better each time; not necessarily bigger but better with a legacy.
“Every year we want to put together the best experience. We are trying to create a platform to communicate intelligently with the industry. Put together people who can stick alliances, partnership in a very relax atmosphere with a gathering where they have huge respect for each other. We also want to serve and cater to the players in the local market- which is MPA’s biggest strength from the time we started. APOS is not a market and it’s not about buyers and sellers…we are just APOS and unique in our own wayit stems from passion and duty.”
“There are a lot of pay-TV companies moving into the OTT segment. BSkyB has done a great job in the UK. PCCW is expanding outside and Astro is launching something outside too. The notion that Netflix and YouTube will dominate the market is overblown as there is going to be a lot more new players. The issue is how you monetise and scale it. We are coming from a region where if you put together pay-TV and free TV across the 20 markets, it’s about US$95 billion. OTT against that is still nascent even with ad models but it’s a huge opportunity especially in North Asia and longerterm, India. Southeast Asia has its own challenges but look, the next two years aren’t just about Netflix, it will also be about new digital platforms to the consumer from Astro, Amazon, Disney, Discovery, Fox, HBO, PCCW, Universal and many more. Great brands, great IP married to innovative distribution and technology and you paying for it…that’s the future and that’s APOS!” he concluded.
About Vivek Couto
With more than 20 years of experience in the media and telecoms industries, Vivek Couto is the leading media and telecoms industry analyst, consultant and evangelist in Asia-Pacific. Couto co-founded Media Partners Asia (MPA) in 2001- with offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and India today. Graduated from the London School of Economics & Politics with a BSc Economics degree and an MSc Economics, specializing in international politics; Couto leads research and consulting services with a leadership role in corporate strategy, market research, asset appraisal and M&A-related due diligence. The MPA team tracks 19 markets with a depth of local knowledge, and provides in-depth analysis across advertising, broadcasting, broadband, content creation, digital (including online video), mobile, pay-TV and broadband. MPA has advised a wider range of companies on M&As, equity and debt transactions, totaling more than US$30 billion over the last 15 years. MPA also works with local, global and regional companies to benchmark competition and industry performance, achieve optimal synergies, and launch new services & products across new markets. Key MPA business verticals include:
- • MPA Research & Consulting
- • APOS
- • Media Business Asia