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Greg Armshaw

By Greg Armshaw

Senior Director Strategy at Brightcove


The Next Asian OTT Frontier: Catering to Diaspora


The OTT entertainment revolution continues with the adoption of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu collectively topping 245 million subscribers worldwide in 2017. But for Asian content publishers seeking to venture into the OTT market, there is still more land to grab - by targeting the sizeable diaspora of Asians dispersed across the world. Here are five steps for content owners to consider in order to succeed in harnessing this unique market opportunity.

Choose Your Launch Market Wisely

Asian countries have some of the most widely spread diasporas in the world. When launching a fledgeling service, start by choosing one or two strategic countries to launch in. It’s important not to rush towards growth too quickly because operating the service in first few initial countries will help to understand how users are adopting the service.

Serving niche audiences by definition does not mean massive scale, but it is evident there are sizable audiences in North America, Europe, and within Asia that warrant further evaluation. Overseas addressable audience sizes are estimated as below:

Statistics on overseas addressable video audience sizes

Audience size is important and so is the propensity to pay for TV content online. According to Digital TV Research, the online TV and video market will be worth over $24 billion in North America alone by 2021, placing it as the top market for online TV and video revenues.

Keep OTT Costs Low

If niche “export” content is priced at a premium, most consumers can reconcile with this because this content is not readily accessible or available mass market in their host countries. However, OTT service providers do need to reconcile that niche offerings aren’t likely to build the same scale of subscribers as a mass market OTT service. And that can be painful. This is where OTT service providers need to strike a balance between ensuring a high-quality video streaming experience while keeping costs associated with bandwidth and storage low so they can have some flexibility over pricing.

Keeping a tight rein on costs means investing in solutions like Context Aware Encoding and Dynamic Delivery to help reduce storage and bandwidth costs. If niche OTT service providers are only relying on subscriptions as the sole source of revenue, then this is not a sustainable approach. Which brings us to the next topic.

Develop Marketing Strategies That Tap Into The Diasporas World

Awareness and acquisition campaigns for the diaspora audience are a whole different ballgame. Understanding that these subscribers need to feel connected to their national heritage, OTT service providers need to find cultural touchstones to leverage marketing activities. For example, HeroTalkies, the online Tamil movie destination that caters to the Indian diaspora globally, sees their largest growth period during Diwali where they tend to release a chunk of new movies to tie into the festive season and offer special weekend sign-up and festive season passes.

HeroTalkies promotional image

HeroTalkies dhool deepavali promo code offer

Yearning for the motherland also stretches to local brands that can be difficult to obtain overseas but it does not mean advertising or branded content is irrelevant to this audience. For example, an OTT offering targeted at the Filipino diaspora can be designed like this: buy a 6-pack of a Coca-Cola and get a promo code to watch Filipino blockbuster movie of the week, valid for the existing OTT service subscriber and family member from home country. This brand experience, although unique, can be amplified by facilitating separated families and friends to connect over shared entertainment experiences.

Other sign-up offers can be designed around products that target diasporas, i.e. remittance companies like Western Union could partner up with an OTT service provider and offer promo code to redeem for an OTT weekend pass for remittances up to a specific dollar amount.

Think Creatively About Revenue Sources

Leave the limitations of the broadcast world behind and approach your business model creatively. Consider if there are alternative revenue sources available that do not require charging the end user. Aside from direct revenues, government bodies quite often have grants for cultural promotion. Walter Presents recently won a government grant from the European Union for €450,000 (US $550,000) that will be used to promote European drama in both the UK and the US.

Walter Presents video dashboard interface

Focus On Content and Marketing, Outsource the Technology

The biggest challenge with building any OTT business is not the applications and delivering the content, but user acquisition and retention. Content owners should devote more of their time and investment in this area and leave the underlying technology to organisations like Brightcove.

Understanding and navigating around the intricacies and challenges of streaming video across the world is what video technology companies like Brightcove specialise in, so that our OTT customers can focus on providing the exceptional video experiences that deliver results and helps them conquer this next frontier in OTT.


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