Streaming or dreaming? Why Singapore’s streaming brands need to stand out

By Piers Lee

Smartphones have made the mundane moments of life – commuting or waiting in line – nearly bearable. We amuse ourselves (and our children!) with games, videos, and web browsing.

Better than that, generous data plans give consumers more chances to stream on the go. Nearly all smartphone users stream free content, but about half in SE Asia actually pay for subscription streaming services – and the incidence of paying for them can be higher in the emerging markets.

Telecoms companies are now bundling streaming services within mobile phone packages. In Indonesia, this is becoming a key selling point for pre-paid subscriptions, and data plans usually allow for streaming at least ten films a month through roaming. This is often separate from other data packages, encouraging consumers to max out on their movies allowance.

That’s quite attractive if you’re commuting up to to two hours through Jakarta traffic.  In other markets, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, commuting times are shorter, so catching up on TV series is more popular. This in turn drives demand for 30 - 40 minute series episodes over feature films.

The real challenge facing media companies is their brand getting lost within the range of entertainment platforms. Traditionally people develop loyalty to media brands through habits formed in TV channel selection at home. This loyalty tends to persist, as families still value television in their home (portable devices just can’t offer that big screen, rich sound or 3D). Indeed, despite the capacity to stream to their main television screen, we’ve found that consumers still like the convenience of linear television, and enjoy letting the programmer determine what content they should watch.

That said, media brands need to continually develop their strengths and USPs in the streaming market – key factors for success include top notch content and a great user interface. In the light of the sheer diversity and range of platforms now available to consumers, media brands are going to have to work much harder to maintain their profile. This means creating unique content through their own productions, adapting their communications to local markets with affiliate strategies, and efficient local sponsorship and advertising.

BVA BDRC works with a range of media brands, providing consumer insight to develop marketing and brand management strategies in this age of new media. Want to start developing a strategy for consumer retention? Drop us a line.

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