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Thai SVOD market heats up

News, 15 September 2015

BANGKOK: Free-to-air and pay-TV currently dominate Thailand's television sector but streaming video on demand (SVOD) is emerging as a fast-growing sector, with ten players battling for custom.

Media Business Asia noted that 24 new digital terrestrial TV (DTT) channels had also launched last year and described Thailand as "Southeast Asia's most fluid TV market where new digital platforms for terrestrial, satellite and broadband distribution are dramatically reshaping industry dynamics".

Last week Iflix, which claims to be Southeast Asia's leading internet TV service, became the tenth SVOD service in Thailand, as it launched in its third regional territory after Malaysia and the Philippines.

It joins offerings from its regional rival Hooq as well as the country's three leading telcos and local suppliers such as Doonee, Hollywood HD and Primetime.

"We are confident that Iflix will revolutionise the way people in Thailand access entertainment while encouraging them not to pirate content," said Artima Suraphongchai, country manager for Iflix Thailand.

She is aiming to recruit hundreds of thousands of subscribers by the end of the year through a mix of competitive pricing – it is the second cheapest SVOD service in the country – and a tie-up with a local telco to be part of a bundled service; longer term there are moves to build domestic content.

Suraphongchai expected that the scale offered by Iflix would be important and that some existing services would fail because of their smaller content portfolio. In the background, meanwhile, US SVOD giant Netflix has designs on Asia, having recently launched into Japan and announced its intention to move into Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea next year.

Investment in fixed and mobile broadband is also crucial to expanding the potential market beyond the capital and the most affluent consumers.

Figures from Media Partners Asia indicate that there are currently around 5m fixed broadband connections, reaching 23% of Thai homes and SVOD uptake will likely depend on these in the first instance.

Data sourced from Media Business Asia, The Nation; additional content by Warc staff