Disney has started rolling out branded subscription VOD (SVOD) services in Southeast Asia, a foray into a parallel entertainment ecosystem taking shape outside the confines of traditional TV.
Disney Movies On Demand, a selection of evergreen films from Disney and Pixar, made its regional debut in Thailand earlier this year on Hollywood Movies HD, a fledgling OTT platform.
More recently the service landed in Singapore on StarHub, bundled with the telco’s HomeHub broadband plan, while also offered a la carte to pay-TV subscribers.
At some point, GE sibling ABC TV On Demand might follow Disney Movies On Demand into Asia. Both services have been available in Europe and North America for a couple of years.
Such deals reflect an emerging OTT video landscape, shaped not just by increased viewing, fueled by faster broadband networks and better devices, but also by growing subs bases for online aggregators.
For content owners, it’s in some ways a still familiar world, but one where they must contend with new dynamics of content discovery and demand. Disney has an advantage here, owning most of its content within a well-known brand.
Hollywood Movies HD features content from several major studios but Disney is the first to establish a branded presence there.
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Bona fide digital intermediaries are still relatively scarce in Southeast Asia, although more should join the fray over the next couple of years.
Netflix has carved out a niche for itself alongside traditional pay-TV networks in the US, encouraging others to stake claims across Asia’s growth markets.
At the same time, pay-TV providers that also offer strong broadband services, like StarHub, are well positioned to play too.
Expect more deals in more markets, adapted to keep up with changing consumer behavior while maintaining a consistent content offering and brand promise.
“This is very much about the consumption of content online and on smart or connected devices,” explains Amit Malhotra, Studio Entertainment GM for The Walt Disney Company Southeast Asia.
“The TV appetite is met today quite significantly with the services that exist, but there is a big white space opportunity that the consumer lacks today,” he tells Media Business Asia.
“We need to be able to launch legitimate services for consumers to experience content on high-speed broadband.”