China will drive SVOD growth in Asia, Netflix or no Netflix

China will drive SVOD growth in Asia
Credit: Georgejmclittle/

China may have blocked access to Netflix within its borders, but the country will still be a key driver of SVOD (subscription video on demand) service takeup in Asia over the next five years, says a new forecast from Digital TV Research.

The Asia Pacific region will have 157.7 million SVOD subscribers by 2021, up from 41.7 million in 2015 and 76.1 million expected by the end of this year. The total will be nudging 100 million by the end of 2017, according to the Asia Pacific SVOD Forecasts report.

Rapid smartphone subscription growth means that China will command 47% of total SVOD subscribers in 2021 – up from 38% in 2015. From the 82 million additions between 2016 and 2021, China will supply 34 million, Japan 9 million and India 15 million.

By 2021, 17.5% of the region’s TV households (across 17 countries) will subscribe to an SVOD platform, up from only 5.1% by end-2015 and 9.1% expected by end- 2016. Penetration rates in 2021 will vary from 53.5% in Australia (with four countries above 50%) to 8% in Pakistan.

Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Although Netflix, Amazon, Iflix, HOOQ and Viu will enjoy rapid growth, they will collectively only account for 16% of the region’s SVOD subscribers by 2021.”

He added that Netflix is forecast to have close to 7.6 million subscribers in the region by 2021, up from 3.17 million at end-2016. “Australia, Japan, Korea and New Zealand will together account for nearly three-quarters of the total. Netflix is considered expensive in most other countries.”

Murray said the numbers assume that Netflix will not launch as a standalone platform in China.

China will drive SVOD growth in Asia

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