Filmart: Asia’s OTT content starting to travel around the region

The edgier local-language content that is being produced by Asia’s streaming platforms is starting to travel around the region, and even internationally, said speakers at Filmart’s ‘Global Appetite for Asia’s OTT platforms’ panel on Monday. 

Thawatvongse Silamanonda, Thailand country manager for pan-Asian platform Viu, explained how the company started out by streaming Korean content region across the region, but is now finding that its Thai productions are starting to travel as well: “We’re always talking to the Thai broadcasters about how we can make Thai content more international – and now we’re seeing our originals work in Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong.” 

HOOQ’s chief content officer Jennifer Batty explained how Korean films and TV drama have made international audiences more accepting of Asia’s diverse content offerings: “Korean content has opened a lot of doors for other territories – we’ve seen viewing minutes going up for our Thai content in Indonesia and the Philippines. People are looking to access content across new genres and new languages.”

Bill Sondheim, president of US-based Cinedigm, which is launching Asia-focused streaming platform Bambu in North America in June, said US audiences first embraced Japanese anime, then Korean dramas and he believes Chinese content will be the next wave. 

“We’ve seen content from some of the Chinese streaming companies become more edgy, more urban and more complicated in its character development. We believe it will appeal to 20 to 30-year-old English-speaking consumers in the US,” Sondheim said.  

Iflix global head of content Craig Galvin explained how Asia’s OTT platforms, which are generally more accessible than the global streaming giants, are creating new opportunities for young content creators. “Some of our territories are really early-stage centres of creativity and our role is to support and help build that,” Galvin said. “We’re a viable option for those kids coming out of college for their content to be seen.