Netflix and Disney+ Sets Stage for New Battle Ground of Southeast Asia

In Southeast Asia, Netflix, the U.S streaming giant, is ramping up its mobile-only subscription plans. The company is also focusing on expanding its local content as its rival Disney enters the fast-growing market.

Netflix is the world’s biggest video streaming platform by paid customers. It recently told Reuters that they have more than a million from Southeast Asia of its nearly 200 million subscribers around the world.

The region is home to around as many as 655 million people. However, the market is lucrative for many rivals as it offers several opportunities for rapid growth. According to analysts, after the launch of Disney+ and Hotstar in Indonesia next month, it is set to become a key battleground.

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

In 2019, according to a study by Google, Temasek Holdings, and Bain & Co, Southeast Asia is estimated to have generated nearly $600 million in overall subscription revenue for music and video. But the study also said that’s set to explode to an annual $3 billion by 2025.

On August 2019, Netflix has launched mobile-only plans starting with India to Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia. All of these plans are priced below $5 a month.

Coronavirus lockdowns across the region have also increased pushed the trend of content streaming at home.

According to Arora, Netflix’s executive, his firm is working towards expanding payment options in countries with low credit and debit card penetration. For instance, users in the Philippines can pay for Netflix through their mobile telephone plans. They can also purchase prepaid plans such as Netflix cards at convenience stores.

The company faces competition from international rival Disney+ and many local rivals including Hong Kong’s video service Viu and Chinese tech giant Tencent’s WeTV. In Indonesia, last week, Disney+ said that it would start operating in September in partnership with state-owned telco Telkomsel to target over with 270 million people in the region.

To brace the challenge, earlier last Thursday, Netflix Southeast Asia content leads Myleeta Aga said that the firm that announced two new original Indonesian productions has given great importance to the region. They will ramp up local content offerings and soon start filming more projects in Indonesia and Thailand.