The OTT tsunami has arrived

My OTT Asia tracking page :: http://www.nokpis.com/ott-asia/

Obviously I write this from the perspective of someone working in the OTT space but of course confined to a specific content niche – Indian video globally available to anyone who wants it. Fortunately it means that I have experience with building a global OTT platform given spuul has customers dotted around the globe.

If you are in developed regions you probably have had the choice of some sort of regional or global OTT network for years. Netflix is clearly the big one to contend with and it is very interesting to read their latest view of the market and their place in it :: http://ir.netflix.com/long-term-view.cfm .

I love how their business plan and goals for the product are clearly explained. It is also interesting how they directly discuss the competition. I think Netflix knows it will take serious money to stay on top since as the content leaders bifurcate and run their own services – Netflix will have to continue to ramp their original content to make up the gaps.

When it comes to developed markets I think Netflix is unstoppable but I always watch for HBO to do something but the problem is HBO is not a tech leader and this is their Achilles heel in competing with Netflix. However when it comes to content and marketing – HBO is a force to be reckoned with.

The emerging markets though are a totally different story with the excess of regional content to be mopped up and the strength of the telcos to be reckoned with.

I can only really discuss Asia with the caveat that I will leave China, Korea and Japan out of it since they are unique markets. Netflix already as their sights set on Japan and China has enough of it’s own players to contend with.

If one looks at the ANZ region it will be a market to watch the evolution play out since quickflix is on the way down while Stan takes a shot it before Netflix comes to town. Stan does have a chance given they will have a lot of local TV content bottled up but maybe that is not enough to combat Netflix technology and their huge swath of original content.

The rest of Asia though appears to be up for grabs. India may or may not look like China with local incumbents winning but given English as a dominant language, the local market may be open to large international players. I think apart from niche players, spuul for example, India will likely have Amazon and Netflix giving it a go. It also seems that the large local telcos will try to own the market as well as regional players like the newly formed HOOQ. India is big enough to support all this competition – it is after all the next China. In general the south Asian market will be lead by and grouped in with India.

Southeast Asia though is almost another region in and of itself. Already each country is home to some country based players but my take is that they will not survive a regional play since the economics of a regional player will allow for larger catalogs and better technology. HOOQ appears to be the first to really go after this market but they will not be the last.

I reckon that there are lots of players sitting on the sidelines waiting to dip their toes in due to the market size and the complexities that will allow for specific innovation in payments, tech and telco partnerships that could easily allow a competitor to sprint past another. I have no way of validating this list apart from my own gut and the rumor mill but this is my guess for other companies that will either start or partner to create another SEA OTT service – Astro, Starhub, and Catcha Group come to mind but just look at any media company or telco not yet in the game or partnering with someone as a possible entrant.

The potential market with the growth of mobile and Internet is just too big to ignore. Problem is that this market doesn’t look like the developed markets so freemium models, telco payments and multi language support will prevail. Not exactly a good fit for Netflix or Amazon.

Of course apart from Asia there is also the Middle East and Africa to think about. In theory one could argue there is the total set of emergent markets for an OTT player to try and win over with the right mix of Hollywood content, global TV content, regional TV and movie content all buttoned up with a focus on mobile, payments and tech that rivals piracy and YouTube. What many forget is the main competitor in all these markets is piracy – not incumbent services.

I have been patiently waiting for the deep pocketed Rakuten to take their Waiku.tv property and the tech and audience behind Viki to build a more focused emerging markets premium video play but doesn’t look like it is in the cards. Or maybe with Razmig exiting Viki, he is actually working on just this?

It’s 2015 – the next 3-5 years in the OTT space is going to be pretty insane.

I am sure consumers are in for a lot to benefits as the competition slugs it out.

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