Home Entertainment SVOD Subscriptions in Japan Exceed 52 Million, Says Report

SVOD Subscriptions in Japan Exceed 52 Million, Says Report

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Japan was a latecomer to the video streaming era, with many viewers still preferring the collectability of physical media. But now the Japanese streaming sector appears to have reached maturity.

A new report from data analytics company AMPD, that is part of consultancy and research firm Media Partners Asia, shows that Japan’s premium VOD category expanded from 50.6 million subscriptions in 2022 to 52.6 million in 2023. (Some households may have multiple subscriptions.) That was worth $4.5 billion of subscription revenues, compared with $4.1 billion.

Interestingly, the number of minutes watched on premium streaming services dropped from 110 billion minutes in 2022 to 102 billion in 2023. AMPD says its Japan Online Video Consumer Insights & Analytics report uses a permission-based passive panel measuring digital activity from over 19,000 members in partnership with the Intage Group.

The report shows that Japan’s VOD ecosystem is now large and competitive. Local broadcaster-led AVOD platform Tver commanded over 20.2 million monthly average users (MUAs) and accounted for 38% of premium VOD viewership in 2023.

Amazon’s Prime Video led the SVOD category with 19.7 million MAUs, followed by U-Next (8.2 million) and Netflix (7.5 million).

Tver and Netflix led engagement with an average of 8.8 and 7.3 hours per user each quarter, respectively.

Five platforms – Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, U-Next, Disney+ and Hulu Japan – shaped Japan’s SVOD economy in 2023, AMPD says. The top five generated a cumulative $3.3 billion of subscription revenue with an aggregate 38.0 million subscribers at year-end. Prime Video and Netflix led monetization in 2023 with 23% and 21% of total subscription revenue, respectively. Meanwhile, U-Next was the fastest growing player in SVOD in 2023 with a 30% share of net new subscriber additions.

The researcher showed Prime Video accounting for 24% of SVOD-only viewership, ahead of Netflix with 21%, U-Next with 14% and Abema TV with 13%. Theya re significantly ahead of Disney+ with 3% and the NipponTV-owned Hulu Japan on 2%.

U-Next has emerged as the leading local SVOD player with high average revenues per user (ARPUs), benefiting from its acquisition of Paravi and a robust anime, local TV and sports offering.

“Japanese anime, live-action dramas and variety content represented 65% of viewership in the premium VOD category and contributed over 50% of customer acquisition in the SVOD category in 2023. Licensed local dramas are important engagement drivers for Tver, U-Next and Hulu Japan, where TV hits have a second life, while original dramas and variety have had clear acquisition impact on Netflix (‘Love Village,’ ‘First Love’) and Prime Video (‘The Bachelor),” said AMPD lead analyst Dhivya T.

“In addition, anime remains a core pillar of SVOD viewership, with all major SVOD services offering large, non-exclusive and current anime libraries. Exclusive anime such as ‘One Piece Film: Red’ (Amazon) demonstrated notable customer acquisition impact.”