Online TV streaming in Singapore gets a boost from WFH and South Korean shows

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SINGAPORE – Drawn to South Korean TV shows and working from home amid the Covid-19 pandemic, more Singaporean consumers logged on to streaming services for their TV show last year, at the expense of TV shows traditional.

A report found that 55% of viewers here said they watched their favorite shows on over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services such as Netflix and iQiyi last year, up from 52% the year before.

But there has been a decline for traditional TV, with 36% of respondents remaining loyal viewers last year, down from 43% in 2020.

The report released last month by ad tech firm The Trade Desk surveyed around 400 people here aged 16 and over in November last year.

OTT services deliver professionally produced TV content on-demand over the Internet to any device. They include Amazon Prime, Disney+, Mediacorp’s meWatch, Singtel Cast, StarHub Go Max and Viu.

But OTT services exclude platforms that also stream consumer-created and uploaded videos, such as YouTube and Facebook.

Traditional television refers to television content shown on a fixed schedule on television sets, such as free-to-air shows from Mediacorp.

The report also showed that the total number of hours watched per month on OTT services jumped 27% last year compared to the previous year, reaching more than one billion.

On average, OTT viewers here spent 2.3 hours a day last year watching shows, while heavy users spent six hours doing so. This contrasts with 1.6 hours of regular TV programming watched on average.

In 2020, it was 2.2 hours for OTT and 1.8 hours for traditional TV.

The shift from traditional TV to online streaming over OTT services could be due to factors such as an always-on lifestyle becoming the norm here, said Ms Jennie Johnson, Senior Marketing Manager of the Trade Desk for the Southeast Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand.

The pandemic has also “inaugurated an accelerated shift to OTT,” she said. The Trade Desk said in Southeast Asia this was partly due to Covid-19 forcing people to work from home and binge on shows at their convenience.

Ms Johnson said the report also showed viewers preferred the flexibility of OTT services to watch shows on demand. This is especially the case for Gen Z, 16 to 24 year olds, who enjoy watching shows away from home.

Unlike traditional TV, which can only be watched on TVs on a set schedule, OTT broadcasts can be watched by viewers whenever they want on a variety of devices, whether TVs, laptops, tablets or phones.

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