SINGAPORE: The likes of Netflix and Amazon are investing billions of dollars in content but getting consumers in Asia to pay for OTT TV services is a major challenge, according to a new report which also notes they have a limited tolerance for ads in this context.

The Asia OTT Television Research Report 2018 from online video platform Brightcove was based on a survey of 5,000 people across Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

This found that price was the top barrier to paying for OTT services in these countries, where many users are accustomed to accessing free content via torrent sites.

Last month, for example, the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia reported that 24% of Hong Kong viewers used an illicit streaming device (ISD) to stream pirated television and video content – with almost half (49%) of those scrapping their subscriptions to legal pay TV services and a quarter (26%) stating this was a direct consequence of owning an ISD.

And with the FIFA World Cup currently in progress, there has been an upsurge in interest in finding free streaming sites to watch games. Parvinder Walia of digital security firm ESET Asia Pacific warned of the various dangers fans could be exposed to, including having malicious codes and adware installed on their devices.

The risk of being exposed to a torrent of annoying and irrelevant ads appears to offset for some consumers a general reluctance to watch ads on OTT services. The Brightcove study reported that most consumers could tolerate between one and three in any commercial break, and certainly no more than three.

The expectation, it said, is of more content and fewer ads. Addressable TV, it added, can “thrive” in this environment where “ads can be targeted, agile and effective”.

“The future of TV is OTT,” stated Ben Morrell, General Manager, Asia at Brightcove. “Fundamentally, it will be defined by what the viewer wants, exerting a strong influence on how media companies package, deliver and monetise their content.

“For consumers, the switch between TV and mobile devices is relatively straightforward,” he added. “The implication for service providers is, however, much greater.”

Sourced from Brightcove, Casbaa, Express Computer; additional content by WARC staff