The smartphone has made our lives better and worse. With roaming services and Wif, work tends
to follow us around, meaning we feel compelled to respond to work emails outside the office, and
even on holiday.
But the mobile has made some mundane activities, such as commuting to work, and time spent waiting or queuing more bearable, as we can entertain ourselves with games and video.
Generous data plans are giving consumers more occasions to stream on the go. While nearly all consumers stream free content, e.g. from YouTube, about half of consumers in SE Asia also pay for subscription streaming services, and this can be higher in the emerging markets.
In an attempt to create more product differentiation in commoditised markets, telecom companies are bundling streaming services within mobile phone packages. In Indonesia, these are becoming the key selling points of pre-paid subscriptions, and the data plans usually allow for streaming of 10+ films per month through roaming. This option is attractive for consumers who often commute 1–2 hours through Jakarta traffic and need to ‘pass the time’.
In other markets like Singapore and Hong Kong, commuting times are lesser, but this makes catching up on TV series a common activity during a commute, and consequently drives more demand for TV series than for feature length films.
The challenge facing media companies is that their branding is getting lost within the range of platforms that people use to consume this content. People traditionally develop loyalty to media brands through the TV and the habits formed through channel selection at home. This loyalty still exists, because families continue to value the TV in their home, with the attractions of the big screen and high definition. Despite the facility to stream to the TV, consumers still like the convenience of linear TV, and of the programmer determining what is the best content rather than the consumer making the effort to look for it.
But media brands need to develop their strengths and unique positioning in the streaming market – the key success factors include both great content and a great user interface. In light of the sheer diversity and range of platforms, media brands also need to work much harder to maintain the profile of their brands. This will require creating unique content through their own productions, adapting their communications to local markets in terms of affiliate strategies, and local sponsorship and advertising.
The marketing of media is becoming far more complex, and therefore needs far more research.
By: Piers Lee
Managing Director, BDRC Asia