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Video on demand: An emerging industry

Yun Kyung Kim

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, August 8, 2017  /  09:24 am
Video on demand: An emerging industry

Netflix app on tablet screen. Netflix is an international leading subscription service for watching TV episodes and movies. (Shutterstock/Diabluses)

Online video streaming platforms have been expanding into emerging markets like Indonesia with localized content and user-friendly subscription methods — giving many consumers entertainment alternatives: subscribing to streaming media and videoon-demand services.

Falling smartphone prices and improved 4G coverage have also contributed to heighten smartphone penetration to 43 percent and to a growth in Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) services.

One of the earliest examples of a SVoD service to hit the Indonesian market is Genflix, a local service operated by PT Mega Media Indonesia that carries live sports along with video on demand. Monthly subscription costs start at Rp 59,000 (US$4.43).

However, one of the top contenders in the current Indonesian market is Netflix, a US-based on-demand Internet streaming and DVD service. It expanded into Indonesia early 2016 with monthly rates starting at Rp. 109,000.

Considering the relatively recent launch of Netflix into the Indonesian market, Indonesian audiences fall behind in the number of content selections available compared to the US counterpart.

Evelyne Devita, a Netflix Subscriber, said she prefers streaming videos online rather than going to the movie theaters nowadays.

“I can watch high-quality movies and TV shows online whenever I want. However, at the same time, I can find the same content online for free, but that’s illegal and kind of hard to search for, so I like streaming services more,” she says.

With the growing competition in the SVoD market, Southeast Asian online streaming service iflix is specifically targeting Indonesia by providing live sport and localized content through a mobile-centric platform.

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“The streaming industry is booming in Indonesia. In fact, iflix has recently reached a new daily record of 14 million minutes, which is about 29 years of content in one single day,” said Galvin Marne, iflix Indonesia’s head of marketing.

iflix is a Southeast Asian SVoD service that offers subscribers access to thousands of TV shows, movies and exclusive content for a relatively affordable price specifically aimed at emerging markets.

“We offer a lot of services such as live streaming, documentaries, children’s shows and exclusive Indonesian movies. And it’s very easily accessible on a desktop or you can download it through the mobile app,” said iflix Indonesia’s marketing manager Tiara Sugiyono.

Galvin said many Indonesians are getting access to mobile phone data that can be used to access iflix content, which is one of the main consumer targets for SVoD companies.

“Indonesia has great growth potential. Especially when we compare it to paid TV subscriptions which took 14 years to hit 1 million subscribers, and iflix only took 7 months to reach that number,” said Galvin.

iflix buys content that is regionspecific for the convenience of its users. For example, they accommodate their consumers through a relatively easier subscription method, by eliminating credit card requirements, when compared to their competitors such as Netflix.

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In addition, Indonesian iflix caters its content toward Indonesian, Korean and Hollywood entertainment that are all supported with Indonesian subtitles.

iflix hopes to continue expanding subscriptions and their target audience through localization. They have adjusted their products to meet the demands of their consumers by compromising video quality to meet the speeds of network providers and the different phone compatibilities.

“We currently have more than 20,000 movies in our Indonesian database, and we go in-depth when buying new content to see what Indonesians will like,”

One of the latest additions to the iflix library is the release of a new supernatural drama called Midnight, Texas, exclusive to NBC-Universal and iflix.

The American drama series follows the lives of inhabitants of a small town with extraordinary backgrounds and powers such as witches, psychics and vampires.

“The series has a lot of potential in Indonesia, where dramas like True blood and Supernatural have done very well,” said Galvin.

Despite the increasing demand for online streaming in Indonesia, the biggest competitor to these services is piracy.

“It’s about convincing the Indonesian consumer that a couple of DVDs is equivalent to the price of a monthly subscription [Rp 39,000] that comes with customer service and unlimited access to content,” said Galvin.

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The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post

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