DigitalCFO Newsroom | 31 March 2022
Commissioned by the Asia Internet Coalition, a new research paper outlines the economic impact of Thailand’s OTT industry and policy recommendations to drive the growth of this important sector.
A new research paper, Innovative Policy Approaches to Thailand’s Digital Economy, which examined the impact of Over-the-Top (OTT) video platforms on Thailand’s economy, estimates that in 2020, local OTT players created 45,106 jobs and contributed USD1.4 billion (THB 46.7 billion) in economic value to the Thai economy. This is approximately 0.3% of Thailand’s total gross domestic product (GDP). This means that every baht invested in the OTT video industry resulted in a 2.67 Baht gain in Thailand’s 2020 GDP. The research conducted by the Thammasat University Research and Consultancy Institute and commissioned by the Asia Internet Coalition illustrates the crucial economic role of OTT platforms and offers innovative policy approaches to support and promote the growth of Thailand’s digital economy.
OTT services refer to online platform services that deliver any content to end-users who interact with user devices by using the Internet without owning or operating network infrastructure. The study further finds regulatory disparities between traditional broadcasting and OTT video services; OTT video services adhere to different business models compared to traditional broadcasting and, each, have their own unique value propositions to customers – from user generated content to curated content. Hence, strict regulatory parity between OTT and traditional broadcasting services may not be appropriate in facilitating a sustainable OTT ecosystem. Importantly, traditional broadcasting service providers are also tapping into the OTT platforms to distribute and further monetise their content.
The research team reviewed global best practices and recommends industry self-regulation to ensure that government policy is aligned with the rapid evolution of OTT businesses and supports the industry’s growth and innovation. Transparency in the self-regulation process can be enhanced by making public self-regulatory guidelines and the process by which OTT providers address complaints lodged. This allows consumers to determine if providers are adhering to the guidelines and adequately addressing complaints according to these guidelines. Any industry self-regulation committee should include industry experts and other stakeholders to prevent collusion between members. The research team also recommends providing incentives to encourage industry participation, such as tax incentives and public recognition to companies who are committed to self-regulation.
“In addition to a positive economic impact, the growth of Thailand’s OTT video industry will bring much value to consumers, businesses, and traditional video platforms. Based on our research, as well as conversations with players in the OTT video industry, we can expect a boost to the job market in Thailand as more content creators and their related workers are needed to meet the increase in demand for video content. For small businesses, they can now easily access more targeted and budget-friendly advertising choices with both platforms. Consumers benefit from having wider choices of easily accessible and affordable content. For traditional platforms such as television stations, there are opportunities to increase revenue by operating alongside OTT platforms. However, Thailand’s OTT video industry must be supported by sensible, forward-looking regulatory frameworks, in order for the industry’s full potential and value to be realised,” said Dr. Suthikorn Kingkaew, project leader, Thammasat University Research and Consultancy Institute and one of the paper’s authors.
In Thailand, the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to driving the growth of OTT video in Thailand, as well as a rise in OTT video advertising spending as more people stay at home and rely more on the internet and online video. In 2020, the OTT video advertising market was valued at USD 547 million and is expected to have increased by 14% in 2021, with a further increase to USD 1,031 million by 2025. TV advertising spending fell by 10% in 2020 while OTT video advertising spending grew 7%.