Disney+ Hotstar captured 22 percent of new streaming subscribers in Southeast Asia in the first three months of 2022, as the fast-growing region added 2.8 million SVOD subscriptions to reach an aggregate customer base of 39.5 million total subs, according to a report released this week by regional consultancy Media Partners Asia.

Growth was most notable in Indonesia, where Disney+ Hotstar reached 5 million subscribers, a first for any SVOD platform in Southeast Asia. The world’s fourth most populous nation, Indonesia has emerged as a premier scaled opportunity for both global and regional video platforms, with a total of 17.4 million SVOD subscribers and climbing.

“Indonesia continues to be an arena for competition and scale for streamers with growing pressure on incumbents to stand out,” says the MPA report’s author, analyst Dhivya T.

Disney+ Hotstar and local OTT service Vidio, which operates free-to-air and subscription channels, led the Indonesian video market in Q1, growing their share of premium consumption to 15 percent and 28 percent, respectively, up from 10 percent and 19 percent in Q4 2021. Trailing were WeTV, Netflix and Viu.

Adds Dhivya T: “We expect premium video competition to intensify further later this year as entrants like Amazon Prime Video land and incumbents continue to invest in local content, partnerships, marketing and branding to win customers.”

The MPA’s study found that Netflix leads premium video consumption share in the rest of Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand, where the research firm estimates that Netflix claimed 24 percent of total premium video streaming minutes, topping Tencent Video’s international platform, WeTV, with 22 percent.

As incumbents compete for scale in key Southeast Asian markets, new entrants and evolving macroeconomic trends could herald a new post-pandemic era for streamers, MPA’s executive director Vivek Couto says.

“Subscriber growth is likely to moderate as sluggish macroeconomic conditions set in across Southeast Asia,” says Couto. “Inflationary pressures could impact consumer wallets with affordability, while new content cadence and hits, and ease of access though telco and direct retail bundles are likely to be the key to driving customer acquisition and limiting churn,” he adds.

The bankability of Korean dramas was on clear display in the MPA report’s findings. The group’s research found that Korean content comprised 30 precent of total premium video consumption in Southeast Asia in the first quarter, led by Netflix’s robust K-drama slate, with Viu and Disney+ Hotstar also contributing. Hollywood content trailed with a 23 percent share of total minutes consumed in the region.

But in the English-speaking markets of the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, U.S. content drove up to 33 percent to 44 percent of measured consumption. The authors also noted that Indonesia, Thai and Filipino content demand is on the rise, championed by local originals and acquisitions on Vidio, Disney+ Hotstar, WeTV and Viu. Chinese dramas, meanwhile, captured 14 percent of aggregate consumption, driven by growing demand in Thailand.

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