Disney will launch its Disney + over-the-top streaming service in Singapore on February 23rd. The Drum explores what Disney +’s entry will mean for the marketplace.
Disney + has joined the ranks of OTT streaming services operating in Singapore and has intensified competition for established platforms such as Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV + and Viu.
It promises viewers six areas of content, including Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, National Geographic, and Star, for a fee of S $ 11.98 per month or S $ 119.98 per year, while StarHub customers have up to two Enjoy access to Disney + for years.
It is believed that Singapore will be the first in the world to bring Disney + to market with all six content areas.
While there is an upcoming panel that will include WandaVision, The Mandalorian, and Grey’s Anatomy from Marvel Studios, the only Asian content is Raya and the Last Dragon, the fantasy film from Walt Disney Animation Studio released through Disney + Premier Access on his board next to the theatrical release on March 5th of this year.
Laura Quigley, senior vice president, Asia Pacific at Integral Ad Science, says local and exclusive content must be the way for Disney + if the platform is to remedy the situation in the region.
She says Asian shows and a strong library of content must become a priority for Disney + if it is to attract new subscribers who are not fans of Disney’s back catalog or western-made content in general. According to Quigley, this could include popular content in the region like anime, Asian dramas, local reality and game shows, documentaries, and stand-up comedy.
“If you look at successful global players in the region, their impressive growth reflects their ability to continually improve their service by studying viewer data and using that data to evaluate the company’s efforts to improve the quality of the experience and the quality of service to steer, ”she explains.
“The content library is an important part of their customer acquisition and retention strategy.”
Kosuke Sogo, the chief executive officer and co-founder of AnyMind Group, suggests that Disney can partner with local production houses, talent, and content creators to produce Asian content, which can also be a means of locating talent for international productions do.
For example, Disney acquired the Indian platform Hotstar in 2019 and merged its Disney + programming with this platform. This was seen as a way to attract Hotstar’s 300 million users and break into a crowded marketplace.
“So far we have seen two different steps: entering a market as Disney + Hotstar and working with local network operators. Both steps give users access to Disney content and locally created content, ”he explains.
On the other hand, Anthony Tsany, Director of Business Development at APAC at SpotX, argues that international content is still popular. He notes that Disney + has the strongest IP of any global platform. Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars are incredibly popular in Asia.
He believes this is a powerful differentiator that instantly speeds up subscriptions and gives them time to identify a market-specific and culturally conscious content strategy that will future-proof them in the long run.
“It’s all about the IP. Disney + is in a league of its own. Awareness of their talents, characters and content is not only ubiquitous, but they also have years of experience securing advertising partnerships and merchandising deals. As a result, they have built strong relationships with local brands that appeal to the full range of their audiences, ”he explains.
“Consumers are prepared for this type of marketing. Given this framework and process, it wouldn’t be surprising if they took a similar approach when launching Disney +. Additionally, distribution agreements will be vital, and Disney has the power to secure key partnerships with regional / local telecommunications companies and OEMs to have the app pre-installed. “
Since producing content for an OTT environment is hugely capital intensive and the cost of developing content only increases, it is likely that subscriptions will not be able to cover the costs on their own. Disney + will ultimately have to rely on a video-on-demand advertising model similar to that of Disney’s other OTT platform, Hulu.
According to Quigley, Disney should consider the standard of living and purchasing power of viewers in SEA who may not be able to maintain more than one video-on-demand platform for subscription. The answer could be figuring out a way to be the best, most sought-after streaming service in the business.
She points to an IAS report recently published in Indonesia which found that 92% of Indonesian consumers consumed more streaming content during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Subscription depletion has started and nearly 9 in 10 respondents added free streaming during the suspension. 84% of consumers are willing to see ads in exchange for free streaming video,” she said.
“The future of streaming seems to be ad-supported and companies may be looking for video-on-demand advertising or a hybrid approach of SVOD + AVOD. You should look into flexible bundling and adding more target customer payment options to Disney +. “
The Drum investigated why the now-defunct Hooq, a Singapore-based OTT joint venture between Sony Pictures, Warner Bros and Singtel, filed for liquidation and closed down for good.