So far in the series we’ve looked at China, Brazil and India gaining an insight into emerging video markets that we in the West have little exposure to. Today I’m going to look at Thailand, one of many Southeast Asian markets experiencing rapid growth in their digital economy- providing new and exciting opportunities for advertisers to reach a young engaged audience.
An Economy Embracing The Digital Age
Thailand, The Land of Smiles, has the second largest economy in Southeast Asia and this is partly due to its low unemployment rate and previously booming export and tourism industries. Although the country has flourished in recent years the boom has come to an end and the country has began experiencing slow economic growth. Political instability and record flooding have resulted in the country losing some of its export business which accounts for 70% of the country’s economy. Although some industries have suffered there are others that have flourished- including Thailand’s digital economy driven by younger power users. Thailand is part of a cluster of Southeast Asian countries accommodating rapidly growing digital economies, 6 out of the top 10 of these reside in Asia with Thailand ranking in the top three amongst China and Malaysia. Its e-commerce is now worth $22.7 billion and is set to rise to $30 billion (1 trillion Thai baht) by 2016.
An Economy Embracing Online Video
Thailand has three main video sharing platforms, YouTube, Sanook and Duclip. Duclip is a local video sharing website whereas Sanook is a local forum which contains a video sharing function. Out of the three, YouTube remains the most popular video sharing site due to its speed and connectivity. Thailand’s online video consumption goes deeper than just shared video, the country even has the highest online TV penetration in Southeast Asia at 76%.
Thailand is one of the most engaged nations socially with 87% of internet users accessing Facebook weekly compared to the global average of 47%. Social engagement is helping online video reach a large percentage of the population and the establishment of 3G mobile data communications has helped increase digital media consumption on the whole. As it stands the majority of online traffic still comes from desktop although mobile traffic is growing at a rapid rate. The number of mobile devices is ever increasing, as is the demand for mobile connectivity and 4G is currently being trialed in selected areas of the country. Smartphone penetration rises catalysed by the speed at which content can be accessed, as a result mobile e-commerce has become popular with 51% of smartphone users reporting to have made a purchase using their phone. This spending power comes from a young demographic with 72% of mobile users in Thailand below the age of 24.
There is a growing number of mobile users who are young, engaged and accustomed to online spending. This provides a clearly defined opportunity for advertisers to target the demographic currently fueling the nation’s e-commerce. To further the opportunity for advertisers, there is an abundance of content, Thailand has the biggest online video market in Southeast Asia in terms of inventory size. And just like most other emerging markets, the amount of inventory traded programmatically is growing. Thailand has seen a larger rise in RTB impressions than any other country in the Asia-Pacific region experiencing growth of 313%. It’s safe to say that Thailand is fully aboard the programmatic train and advertisers are turning to its programmatic markets to access the best content.
In summary, Thailand holds huge value for online video, especially for advertisers. Online video platforms are popular, there is a growing number of young and engaged digital users comfortable with online spending and the programmatic pipework required to reach them is maturing, presenting advertisers with a hugely appealing marketing channel.