Netflix Set For Battle With Disney+ In South East Asia

Anil Prabha

August 24, 2020

According to Reuters, US streaming giant, Netflix, is ready for battle with Disney+ in the South East Asian market. It is upgrading its mobile-only subscription plans in the marketplace, and expanding local content as well.

Senior executives who spoke exclusively to Reuters, said this is in response to arch-rival Disney and their plans to break into the lucrative SEA marketplace. Reuters has learned that Netflix has more than a million of its nearly 200 million subscribers from SEA, which is home to around 655 million people.

According to analysts, Disney+ Hotstar’s launch in Indonesia next month is set to become an intense yet key battleground for these streaming behemoths.

“What we see in Southeast Asia is that it’s a very mobile-centric market”, Netflix director for product innovation Ajay Arora told Reuters in a recent interview. That’s led the company to push cheaper mobile plans and adapt its product to fit lower-end smartphones, Arora said.

According to a recent study by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Co, SEA is estimated to generate at least $600 million in overall subscription of music and video revenue in 2019, and it is set to explode to at least $3 billion annually by 2025.

Reuters notes that Netflix has launched mobile-only plans in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, all priced at below $5 a month.  Indians have also enjoyed similar experiences since August of 2019 too. This is definitely a new paradigm shift for the brand in terms of its pricing strategy.

The new normal, with lockdowns and the work from home routine, has increased the appetite for content streaming at home and across the region as a whole. As noted by Reuters, Consultancy Media Partners Asia estimates that Southeast Asia video streaming service subscribers will reach 14.7 million in all by the end of 2020.

Speaking to the publication, Netflix executive Arora, said that his firm is also working to expand its payment options in countries with low credit and debit card penetration. For example, in markets like the Philippines, subscribers can pay for Netflix through their mobile telephone plans, or by purchasing prepaid Netflix cards at convenience stores.

According to Reuters, the company not only has competition from Disney+, but also other regional rivals such as Viu, from Hong Kong, and China’s Tencent, which owns WeTV. WeTV apparently bought the assets of Malaysian streaming platform, IFlix, back in June this year.

The story in Indonesia is going to be huge for these players. A country of at least 270 million people, Disney+ says that it will start operating in September in partnership with state-owned Telkomsel, with a catalogue that boasts more than 300 local movies.

In another Reuters exclusive, Netflix’s SouthEast Asia content lead, Myleeta Aga, said that the company will continue to place high importance on the region with local Indonesian productions and they expect to start filming projects in Indonesia and Thailand in the near future.

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About the author
Anil Prabha

Editor In Chief

Anil started his career in journalism all the way back in 2003. After traversing the sphere of editorial, corporate communications and advertising, he has now come full circle and is back in the world of journalism. He believes in the power of the written word, and its ability to enthrall, delight and inform the reader.

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