Why OTT players are jostling to capture India’s massive video-streaming market
admin 13-11-2020, 16:35

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Netflix’s decision to revise its pricing plans in Singapore and Malaysia earlier this year may have caused its subscribers, including me, to collectively cuss. Still, we stayed on, smiling through the pain of shelling out up to US$2.20 more – all for the sake of being entertained.

The over-the-top-streaming (OTT) platform, however, has nothing on the world’s fastest-growing video-streaming market: India. With over 40 players including WarnerMedia’s HBO and WB competing to capture the majority of the market, the runway is a long and expensive one.

Today, we look at:

The OTT players that are banking on India’s valuable video-streaming market
Why Tencent’s strong Q3 earnings couldn’t have come at a worse time
Other newsy highlights such as Alibaba’s record Singles Day sales, and Singapore’s new work pass to attract tech talent

India’s video-streaming market is thriving, and everyone wants in

Why OTT players are jostling to capture India’s massive video-streaming market

India’s appetite for quality video-streaming content has only grown since the pandemic spread. While the lockdown fueled people’s willingness to pay for subscriptions, “video streaming is now increasingly a habit,” says Rahul Maroli, senior vice president and head for subscription video on demand (SVOD) at ZEE5 India.

All-access pass: India will be the sixth-largest market for video streaming by 2024, according to a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers. A prime driver of this revenue is SVOD, which will make up 93% of the estimated US$2.9 billion market by 2024.
Let the bodies hit the floor: With at least 40 providers vying for a hefty slice of India’s video-streaming pie, competition is intense – enough to squeeze Singapore’s now-defunct Hooq and Hong Kong’s Viu out of the market. When Viu announced its departure from India in late 2019, a company representative described the Indianmarket as “complex and challenging… with no current path to sustained monetization.”
On the money: Indian users are value-conscious, so few of them would be willing to make sustained payments just to make a lifestyle statement. That’s the view of Gourav Rakshit, chief operating officer at Viacom18 Digital Ventures, the parent company for VOD service Voot. And Netflix seems to agree: Despite raising subscription prices by 13% to 18% across the US and Latin America in January 2019, the steaming giant knew not to subject India to this change. Instead, it launched an exclusive, US$2.69-a-month, mobile-only plan to customers in July last year.

Read more: High-voltage drama in the world’s fastest-growing video-streaming market


Tencent posts strong earnings amid China’s proposed anti-monopoly laws

Talk about bad timing. Even as China’s biggest tech firms come under scrutiny from the country’s antitrust regulators, Tencent is taking to the stage with a show-and-tell. The Chinese internet titan posted a revenue of US$18.9 billion for the third quarter of 2020 – a 29% increase from the US$14.7 billion it generated during the same period last year. This was largely due to its online games and social media networks, which added to over half of the firm’s total revenue.

Nimble fingers: Tencent’s online games revenue also skyrocketed by 45% to US$6.3 billion in Q3. According to the company, this was likely brought on by the rising number of paying users within and outside of China. Its smartphone game Honor of Kings performed particularly well, clocking an average of over 100 million daily active users from January to October this year.
Pandemic pains: The fintech and business services unit brought in US$5 billion or 26% of Tencent’s total revenue, thanks to higher revenues from commercial payment and wealth management. However, the unit’s growth also slowed down, brought on by the pandemic’s impact on offline project development and new contract sign-ups, as well as non-recurring adjustments.
Targeted ads: Whether you like ’em or not, highly targeted ads work. Online advertising comprised 17% of Tencent’s total revenue at US$3.2 billion, growing 16% from the same period last year. This was driven by soaring demand for Tencent’s algorithm ad-buying solutions and its education, internet services, and ecommerce platforms.

1️⃣ ByteDance could soon be rolling in ad revenue

TikTok’s parent firm is on track to generate over US$27 billion in advertising revenue in China this year, putting it in second place behind Alibaba Group in the country’s digital ad market. Earlier this month, it was reported that ByteDance was in talks to raise US$2 billion to propel its valuation to US$180 million. Come 2021, the tech major is looking to invest in three businesses: ecommerce, search, and longform videos.

2️⃣ Singapore launches work pass to lure tech talent

In a bid to develop the city-state’s tech ecosystem and attract a wider pool of talent to its shores, the Singapore Economic Development Board will launch a new work pass in January 2021. With just 500 slots available, Tech.Pass will allow holders to start and run a business, mentor startups, lecture at local universities, or be an investor, employee, consultant and director in Singapore-based startups. The pass will be valid for two years, with a one-time, conditional renewal for a subsequent two-year period.

3️⃣ Alibaba flies high during Singles Day sales

China’s Alibaba Group has done it again. The tech titan generated US$75.3 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV) during its 11-day Singles Day campaign from November 1 to 11. It marks a 26% increase from the same period last year, which Alibaba attributes to its livestreaming channels on Taobao Live – each of which generated over US$15 million in GMV – and an increased demand for imported products as a result of travel restrictions from the pandemic.

4️⃣ Ascent Capital just raised some big bucks

Singapore’s Ascent Capital has closed the debut of its Myanmar-focused fund, Ascent Myanmar Growth Fund I LP (AMGF), at US$88 million – a sum that the firm claims is the largest private equity fund focused on the country. AMGF’s key investors include Myanmar’s Aung Moe Kyaw, founder and chairman of Grand Royal Group, and Singapore’s Tony Chew, co-founder of MDC Group and chairman of Asia Resource Corporation.

5️⃣ It’s mutual love between Ninja Van and NearMe

NearMe, a Yangon-based digital services platform, has formed a partnership with Singapore’s Ninja Van that would allow partners of the logistics provider to accept e-payments from their customers in Myanmar. Meanwhile, NearMe intends to introduce its e-payments platform to social media sellers, businesses and enterprises through Ninja Van’s network.

6️⃣ An alternative investment fund just closed a cool US$14.7 million

BlackSoil, a venture debt company in India, has closed its first alternative investment fund at US$14.7 million. Investments into the BlackSoil India Credit Fund primarily came from family offices and high-net-worth individuals. But the company isn’t done: It intends to raise a total of US$46.9 million that will be funneled into over 30 deals, with each investment valued at between US$1.3 million to US$2.7 million.


Hey, Michelle! Thanks for your submission – your company takes the spotlight this week.

Elevator pitch: Thailand-based company Sesamilk produces the world’s first 100% sesame milk.
Story: Company founder Siripen Suntornmonkongsri has been in his family’s sesame business for a long time. With the growing interest in plant-based milk for general health as well as for those who have lactose, soy, nut, or oats intolerance,Suntornmonkongsri worked with food scientists to develop this alternative milk that’s extracted from Thai sesame seeds.
How many years in operation: 1.5 years
Number of users: More than 500,000
What’s the monthly revenue? US$600,000
Opportunities: To educate the world about the benefits of sesame milk and to be the leader in plant-based alternative milk
Challenges: Receiving funding for global expansion

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