Driven by Asia’s smartphone penetration and improved connectivity, online video is on the cusp of displacing television as the leading mode of media consumption. More viewers will turn to their devices for entertainment while on the move and businesses need to realize that the quality and diversity of the content needs to increase in order to compete for viewers’ eyeballs and capture mobile viewers’ short attention span.
Media delivery capabilities will shape the growth of online video in Asia and here are the top four trends that business decision makers should take advantage of in 2016:
Mobile Live Video Applications
Asia has emerged as a mobile first world with the rapid adoption of smartphones and one movement to look out for is the rise of mobile live video apps. Such live streaming services now enable Asia’s content hungry consumers the ability to discern as well as broadcast entertainment, education and news. The new platform for content consumption and sharing has witnessed tremendous growth of live mobile video apps. Services providers such as 17 Media, Twitcast, Showroom, Periscope and Meerkat are catering to more users demanding real time viewing. Apart from user-generated content, marketers also are moving away from traditional advertising to leverage real time viewing in engaging with their target audience by tactics such as unveiling new car models to product demonstrations.
Evolution of Messaging Platforms
Another integral reason behind the rise in online video is the increased use of mobile messaging. Asia’s messenger apps like KakaoTalk, Line, Viber and WeChat are leading the charge through diverse features ranging from personalization, photo sharing to social games. Users of messaging apps are also communicating through over-the-top (OTT) media services such as live video chats, online video streaming, production of short video clips and most recently, eCommerce where Facebook announced the availability of letting users hail Uber cars straight from its messaging service.
OTT’s Steady Adoption in Asia
It does not come as a surprise that the OTT industry is on track to become a US$8 billion market in Asia Pacific by 2020. The region continues to witness rapid improvements in connectivity and growth in smartphone penetration that results in stronger demand to view live content. A myriad of content such as sporting (racing, basketball, tennis and soccer) and a surge in the need for immediate access to newly released dramas and anime worldwide are key growth trends. For consumers, content that is localized and relevant will also see similar appeal to worldwide content. As these factors start to influence market share, service providers will have to get creative with business models and price points to take the lead and stay competitive.
While content is king, viewer experience plays an equally critical role. No conversation on video quality and user experience is complete without the mention of 4K. While Japan and Korea will be at the forefront of adopting 4K, the rest of Asia will be preparing to encourage adoption through readiness on multiple fronts such as – network infrastructure readiness, device readiness and content readiness. Given these challenges, the ability to provide optimized live broadcasting in 4K will be the next frontier in the video space.
Another big trend for media delivery – a highlight at CES – is virtual reality (VR). With Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Valve’s Steam VR, HTC’s Vive and Sony PlayStation’s VR in the market, gaming is going to grab all the headlines as developers look to satiate gamers’ cravings for the most intense and absorbing way to experience gaming.
While it will take time for user experience and gameplay mechanics to be further shaped before mainstream adoption, VR is an emerging platform where content creators can seize consumer attention. Developers will soon provide viewers with a passive but immersive experience and add depth and perspective to a creator’s storytelling. With the global gaming market set to hit $93 billion by 2019, VR has every chance of eventually becoming mainstream.
By Vincent Low, Business Development Director, Asia Pacific & Japan at Akamai Technologies