Long-term loyalty an issue amidst a boom in OTT-TV subscribers in Singapore, Paywizard survey reveals

  • Paying subscribers for Over-the-Top (OTT) pay-TV services in Singapore doubles in just 12 months
  • This Christmas a third of Singaporeans plan to sign up to an online TV service for the first time or add additional subscriptions
  • Yet a massive 66% of first-time subscribers expect to cancel within six months

London, 13th December 2016Singaporeans are becoming one of the fastest growing audiences in the world for online pay television – also called Over-the-Top (OTT) TV – as the percentage of local consumers with a subscription has more than doubled from 22% to 45% in just the past year, according to new pre-Christmas research from subscription, billing and CRM specialist Paywizard.

Living in the most densely populated country in the world, Singapore’s 5.6 million residents have long enjoyed good access to cable and satellite pay-TV services. The TV landscape is now being transformed by the growing adoption of pay-OTT services with 20% of Singaporeans planning to sign-up for the first time ahead of the holiday season and 12% expecting to add an additional services this Christmas – making for a 32% total boost to OTT uptake.

Singapore also leads the way in viewing video content on mobile devices with 54% of respondents planning to watch more TV than usual at Christmas via smartphones, laptops and tablets – more than the other five key markets surveyed for the global study of TV viewing trends during the Christmas period. The survey, conducted by Research Now and commissioned by Paywizard, includes responses from 1,019 Singapore consumers.

The survey suggests that 71% of all Singapore consumers now have access to some form of pay-TV subscription, including cable, satellite and internet TV services. Two large incumbents have dominated Singapore’s media and telecommunications market, which encompasses 1.2 million households: SingTel, a multi-service operator, and StarHub, the only cable provider.

Paywizard Singapore pay-TV operators

Even with such entrenched positions, newer pure-play pay-OTT services such as Viu, Viki and the global player Netflix – which recently launched – have still managed to bolster the online video-on-demand pay-TV market, with 65% of consumers expected to be subscribers by Christmas (adding the 20% expected to sign up for the first time to the 45% who already have an OTT subscription).

Bhavesh Vaghela, Chief Marketing Officer at Paywizard, notes: “Singapore is an incredibly interesting market, demonstrating that even with an established and progressive duopoly of service providers, there is still room for innovative new pay-OTT operators to grow an audience that is eager to try new types of content and access deals. “

Local operator power
Singapore is one of the few countries surveyed not dominated by Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video, as the survey’s brand uptake figures show. In fact, 71% of all Singaporeans planning to subscribe to an OTT service for the first time prior to the holiday season intend to take StarHub Go, a sub-brand of the cable provider, while 13% plan to take Viki and 7% HOOQ.

However, even with strong growth all providers will have to fight to keep their Christmas gains, as the survey found that 66% of first-time pay-OTT subscribers expect to cancel within six months – markedly higher than the 50% average of the global survey.

Vaghela observes: “The high proportion of Singaporeans expecting to cancel in the next few months highlights the fact many see pay-OTT TV as dip-in, dip-out services. This suggests that OTT providers must do more to build brand and ensure loyalty among subscribers, providing good customer service and offering greater flexibility around packages.”

A Christmas peak
The research reveals 62% of Singaporeans plan to watch more TV during the Christmas period – slightly above the global level of 59%. And more intend to use mobile devices than in any other market, with 54% of respondents set to do so, including a survey-high 39% on laptops.

Paywizard Singapore device preferences

“Singapore with its rapid growth in pay-OTT, plus more expected this Christmas, represents a great example for both new operators and existing incumbents of the massive potential offered by the paid video-on-demand market,” Vaghela notes. “Yet it is clear that many subscribers are still experimenting with different options. Nonetheless, the launch of several services that deliver pay-OTT over cellular networks, such as Viu, highlights that innovative business models can still deliver breakthrough subscriber growth.”