The state of Singapore's video marketplace

The Singapore video marketplace is an interesting area. It’s one of the most established video markets in Southeast Asia with more than 79% of Singaporeans having said they have watched video in the last month.

What’s more, two-thirds of Singaporeans are viewing video on a mobile device. YouTube reports that watch-time on mobile devices in Singapore represents 60% of viewership, not altogether surprising for Asia's mobile capital, with the highest penetration of mobile devices in the region.

Southeast Asia overall has seen dramatic growth in desktop pre-roll inventory over the past year.  Since Q2 2014, volume has increased in every country, from nearly x8 in Singapore to over x17 in Indonesia. The growth trend is also apparent in the mobile space, where inventory increased around 20 percent from Q1 2015 across the region.

In the past, whenever people talked about video advertising in this region, the conversation always initially revolved around YouTube.  Facebook challenged this notion in 2014 when the Ice Bucket Challenge ensured that the largest social media platform globally also become the contender to the world’s largest video platform.  Now the conversation always ends up being about Facebook and YouTube.  But what about the other video platforms in the market?

According to comScore, June 2015 data shows that Singapore’s total video audience is 3,442,000 people or 65% of the population.

MediaCorp’s data shows that this compares favourably with terrestrial TV.  Free-to-air television channels retained the lion’s share of TV viewership, with a total weekly viewership of 85%, while six in 10 (66%) tuned in to free-to-air TV daily.  In contrast, total weekly viewership for pay-TV stood at 52%.

With such a diversity of data available to us, we can see that there is a need for an established research panel which once and for all determines digital consumption in Singapore and Southeast Asia as a whole.

The video marketplace, therefore, is a major contender for TV dollars – or at least it should be.

Advertisers and agencies should be thinking about where to cost-effectively put their marketing spend to ensure they are reaching out to the right target audience.  And with video having the technology to be programmatically bought – to ensure that advertisers can reach their specific audiences at the right time and in the right place – we shouldn’t be thinking of video as being a 5% or 10% cent medium.

Video inventory has a greater penetration into Singapore than StarHub TV and SingTel TV combined (standing at 37% and 19% respectively).

YouTube, according to comScore’s June 2015 data reaches 82% of the video audience in Singapore – or 52% of the total population, on its own.  Facebook isn’t quite there yet though.

The top eight video publishers in Singapore currently stand as:

YouTube: 2,833,000
Facebook: 1,565,000
Yahoo: 1,006,000
Vevo: 1,004,000 (YouTube)
Maker: 991,000 (YouTube)
Warner Music: 803,000 (YouTube)
AOL: 666,000
Vimeo: 620,000

It’s interesting to note that Vevo, Maker and Warner Music actually fall into the YouTube category so are providing added eyeballs to Google’s powerhouse.

We should also recognise that YouTube and Facebook are fundamentally different viewing experiences.

YouTube is a TV-like viewing experience, essentially content-on-demand, whereas Facebook is a very intimate, private environment. Brands need to recognise these differences in order to be engaging and relevant.

Brands can also do far more with online video – exploring long-form content going well beyond the limitations of TV and the traditional pre-roll spots.  Opportunities to live stream on YouTube present increasingly rich canvas for brands wanting to innovate further down the line – note, for example, the recent launch of YouTube Gaming, Google’s long-awaited rival to Twitch.

Use Facebook and YouTube by all means – you’d be silly not to, and with the way in which you can target audiences on both channels, you’d have some fantastic research on hand straight away.

But as we can see, there are some other key players in the market who should not be forgotten easily.  Using publishers such as Yahoo, AOL and Vimeo, as seen above, as well as other smaller scale local offerings, gives access to inventory that provides some strong stand-out and great share of voice in the market.  This enables advertisers to reach out to audiences who are likely to engage with video content.  Making use of additional tech partners such as TubeMogul and Videology can further this greatly.

The video market in Singapore is growing at a rapid pace. According to YouTube, Singapore content creation is ripe. In the first quarter, YouTube saw one of the highest year-on-year jumps in hours of content uploaded across the region at 110 per cent.  The technology is there to ensure that advertisers can reach out to their audiences effectively.  It makes sense to invest in video now and ensure that return on advertising spend is maximised in the most cost-effective manner possible.

The writer is IAB Singapore’s Video Committee’s co-chair Giles Henderson (pictured). He is also director, media & channels at VML Qais. This article is the third in a four-part series on the state of digital video in Asia-Pacific by the IAB Singapore’s Video Committee.