Japan’s online video market slowed in the fourth quarter of 2022, but ad-supported streamer TVer surged forward to overtake Prime Video as the most watched platform, according to a new report.
The “Japan Online Video Consumer Insights & Analytics” report by consultancy Media Partners Asia shows SVOD subscriptions slowing to their slowest pace since 2015. From an average of 6-9 million per year between 2018 and 2021, they fell to just 3.1 million in 2022.
Premium video viewership grew 8% quarter on quarter to reach 31 billion minutes in the fourth quarter, with SVOD at 55% share; AVOD at 34% and freemium at 11%.
While SVOD household penetration is still only at 45% and Media Partners Asia argues that there is “significant room for growth in the future,” it was the AVOD platform TVer which surged ahead in 2022. “TVer’s engagement growth was driven by prime-time TV dramas, variety shows and news. TVer is poised for a strong 2023 with its first original title, variety program ‘Homage Goro Match’,” MPA said.
In terms of time watched on premium video services, TVer accounted for 29% of viewers’ time, Amazon Prime Video 18%, Rakuten TV 10%, Netflix 9%, U-Next 8% and Abema TV 7%.
In the SVOD space, Amazon Prime Video maintained market leadership, ending 2022 with more than 16 million customers, but its annual growth has slowed. Netflix ended with 7.2 million customers and around 15% market share. Disney+ grew in the second half of 2022 from a relatively low base, reaching almost 3.4 million subs at year-end with its kids franchises driving viewership. Its local horror series “Gannibal” made a strong debut in Dec. 2022.
“Leading local players include U-Next whose viewership is driven by Japanese anime, Asian dramas, and adult content. Having announced its acquisition of Paravi, U-Next will overtake local SVOD leader Hulu Japan in subscriptions with an estimated 3.7 million subs as of end 2022, including Paravi,” MPA said.
“The opportunity going forward for the SVOD category in particular is to elevate the quality of live action content alongside continued investment in licensing popular anime,” the analysts said.
“Licensed local non-anime content contributed a quarter of first-title demand on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix in 2022 while the contribution of local originals to first title demand is starting to grow, especially on Netflix, with releases such as ‘First Love,’ ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’ and ‘Alice in Borderland S2’,” said lead analyst and head of content insights Dhivya T.
In 2022, anime led content categories with 45% of measured premium video viewership. Japanese live action came in second, accounting for 22% and 33% of premium category and SVOD first title consumption, respectively, while U.S. content trended at 16% and 13%, respectively, with Korean content at 12% and 17%, driving customer acquisition most notably on Netflix, followed by Disney+,” the report said.
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