Online video is reshaping Southeast Asia’s media landscape

Online video is reshaping Southeast Asia’s media landscape

Consumption of media content in Southeast Asia has shifted radically in recent years, and subsequently the number of opportunities for brands to connect with consumers is increasing exponentially.

As ownership of connected devices surges across the region, consumers are taking the driving seat when it comes to their consumption of media, choosing when, where and how they access content. Above all else, three major trends are impacting media consumption habits among the region’s digitally-engaged consumers: increasing connectivity; demand for choice and control; and growing consumption of online video content.


Eight in 10 digital consumers in Southeast Asia (80%) own a smartphone and half of digitally-engaged households in the region (50%) own a tablet. This rapid up-take of connected devices, especially smartphones and tablets, is instrumental in media consumption shifting beyond traditional media formats such as broadcast and cable TV, and also beyond traditional time parts.

Southeast Asian netizens spend, on average, over 22 hours online per week, up from approximately 19 hours per week in 2011. Along with increasing connected device ownership and time spent online, consumers’ media consumption habits are shifting; around nine out of 10 commonly engage with two screens simultaneously, and as many as eight in 10 digital consumers in the region engage with three screens simultaneously.

For media owners, it is becoming increasingly important to understand consumers’ viewing habits in order to deliver the right content at the right time, working in partnership with advertisers to uncover new opportunities to connect with and engage consumers to build brand awareness, affinity and loyalty.


The desire for more content options and content-on-demand is driving consumers to source online-delivered content which in the past has been the domain of traditional media sources. Consumers are exercising their choice of how, when and where they can obtain their content and are more active in their media habits than ever before.

Broadcast TV remains the most-used platform for delivery of rich video content, however, alternative platforms are emerging; more than six in 10 digital consumers in Southeast Asia report watching TV content and movies via online sources such as video-on-demand, with the penetration of internet TV highest in Thailand (76%) and the Philippines (71%). YouTube is also increasingly acknowledged as a ‘TV channel’ or platform.


Viewing online video content is a common pastime for digitally active consumers in Southeast Asia and the majority watch online videos at least weekly. Viewing in the region is highest in Vietnam (91% report watching weekly), while Singapore, which has the region’s highest internet penetration, recorded the least amount of online video consumption among those consumers who are online (56% report watching weekly). Laptops/PCs are the most popular device used to view video on demand (85%), followed by mobile phones (43%) and tablets (33%).

Consumers across the region recognise and understand that the content they consume comes at a price; the majority indicate that they expect to either pay for online video content or be exposed to advertising while viewing. Most Southeast Asians say they prefer ad-based models, where they have free access to online video content that includes advertising, as opposed to pay-per-view models with limited or no advertising, with the exception of Indonesia where just 44 percent of digital consumers say they prefer ad-supported content.

Importantly, online video advertising is proving an effective means of stimulating product search and purchase; 80 percent of Southeast Asian digital consumers have been motivated to search for an item seen within online video advertising, and 62 percent have made a purchase as a result of seeing an online video ad.

Insights contained in this article are based on the Nielsen South Asia Cross-Platform Report series which provides an in-depth look at the media consumption habits of the region’s digitally engaged consumers, and the changing media landscape in some of the most dynamic markets in rising Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam and India.

For more information on the Nielsen South Asia Cross-Platform Report series click here now, or email Nancy Jaffe.