This story appears in the October 2020 issue of Television Asia Plus.

Read part one here.

The OTT perspective

One of the most well-known OTT players in the market today is Netflix. In its Q1 shareholder’s letter released in April 2020, Netflix reported that it saw a temporary higher viewing and increased membership growth. However, as lockdowns around the world are slowly lifted, Netflix also expects viewing to decline and membership growth to decelerate. The company also noted that it has been maintaining the quality of its service while its employees around the world adapt to working from home. 

Meanwhile, in Netflix’s Q2 shareholder’s letter released in July 2020, the OTT platform said that it is prioritising to restart productions safely and in a manner that is consistent with local health and safety standards. Productions have slowly resumed and Netflix said that its 2020 plans for launching original shows and films continue to be largely intact. 

When it comes to Southeast Asia viewing tastes, Myleeta Aga Williams, the Content Director of Netflix for Southeast Asia and Australia said that the market has very diverse tastes and preferences, both in terms of genres and where the content comes from. She said, “It reinforces our belief at Netflix that great stories can come from anywhere.” 

Myleeta shared that Korean content remains to be popular in Asia, with shows like It’s Okay Not To Be Okay, Crash Landing On You, Itaewon Class, and Kingdom doing phenomenally well. Hollywood content is also popular among viewers such as Project Power, The Old Guard, Snowpiercer, and Never Have I Ever. Meanwhile, international content like Money Heist and Dark is popular with the Asian audience.

“Last but not least, local storytelling continues to remain a very important pillar of our programming. In Southeast Asia, we are seeing our members local content like Tootsies and the Fake and The Maid from Thailand, Through Night and Day from the Philippines, Imperfect and Love For Sale 2 from Indonesia, and Jailbait from Vietnam,” Myleeta added.

In beefing up its original content, Netflix continues to identify the white spaces in its catalogue and stories that its audiences want and love. The OTT giant is also working with creators from all over the world to look for unique, and best-in-class stories to produce and acquire. 

Myleeta shared, “Ultimately, our goal is to keep growing our content catalogue so that there’s always something to watch for everyone and to suit every mood and need. We will also approach this market by market in Southeast Asia. For instance, in Indonesia, we have announced original films and in Thailand, we launched with a series.” 

Read part three here.