When Disney+ first launched in many countries around the world, the streaming service saw an influx of subscribers globally, especially since the pandemic was forcing people to stay home and watching television was one of the few things we could do. But that accelerated growth has, as expected, drastically reduced.
According to a new report from Media Partners Asia (MPA), new streaming service subscriptions have drastically slowed down in Southeast Asia. Overall, between all of the different streaming services, only 7,000 new SVOD subscriptions were added within the region in the first half of 2023, compared to 7 million new subscribers in the second half of 2022.
Across all of Southeast Asia, there are around 47.6 million SVOD subscriptions in the first half of 2023. While subscription growth has been happening in Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, these have been offset by a loss of over 1.2 million subscribers in Indonesia. The loss of subscribers in Indonesia is down to a number of reasons:
Subscriber churn in Indonesia following the end of the FIFA World Cup football tournament in December 2022 and the end of the 2022-23 Premier League season in May 2023;
The impact of significantly reduced local marketing and content investment outside of Netflix, Prime and Viu, who all contributed to regional growth in 1H 2023 and the result of price increases implemented by key platforms.
However, audiences have been still watching video content, but have flipped to TikTok, which has grown its viewing numbers by 70% in the last two years.
On the outlook for growth in SEA, MPA executive director Vivek Couto commented:
“The region’s leading premium VOD platforms are in the midst of a shift towards quality customer growth, retention, and monetization. Netflix has reduced prices and introduced member sharing measures while Disney has raised prices in Indonesia and Thailand in an effort to build low- churn, high ARPU customer bases. We expect Vidio in Indonesia to pick up subscribers with the return of Liga 1 and the Premier League in 2H, along with impactful local slates from Netflix and Amazon, particularly in Thailand and Indonesia, attracting new subscribers, while Viu will continue to benefit from its Korean output.
In the larger online video landscape, TikTok is increasingly a major driver of viewership growth on mobile and web platforms, responsible for over 70% of growth in streaming minutes over the past 2 years. TikTok captured 42% of video streaming minutes in 1H 2023, a massive 20-point increase over 1H 2021 and 7-point increase from 1H 2022. While overall engagement is growing, TikTok’s rise has reduced shares for YouTube (-4%) and Premium VOD (-2%) Y/Y.”
Many of the streaming services, including Disney+, have drastically cut back their local marketing and content investment, as the region isn’t pulling in as much money as originally expected. Netflix and Amazon have continued to grow their subscriber numbers by heavily investing in Korean dramas, Japanese anime and Chinese content. Disney has also been investing in similar content, but not at the same level and now they are looking to reduce how much international content investment they are making, especially as Disney hasn’t been able to keep up with the growth of its competitors within the region.
In the first half of 2023, Disney+ only has a 7% share across Southeast Asia, so it does have a long way to go to catch up with Netflix or Viu. Disney+ still needs to launch in some countries like Vietnam, so it could still grow in some areas, but with investment in local content being reduced, it seems Disney may have decided chasing Netflix isn’t profitable within the region.
What do you think Disney+ needs to do in Southeast Asia to grow its audience? Let us know on social media!
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.