Asian broadcasters using YouTube as a distributor will be ‘dead within two years’

Asian television broadcasters using YouTube as a free distribution platform for their content are making deals with “the mafia”, the chief data officer of Australian TV and digital saleshouse MCN has said.

Speaking to Mumbrella Asia during ExchangeWire’s ATS conference in Singapore, Mark Brandon described the method as a “terminal” strategy that could see the broadcasters “dead in two years”.

Across South East Asia, local networks such as Malaysia’s free-to-air channel TV3 and Thailand’s Channel 3 upload entire episodes of TV shows.

Although more often than not, individual episodes can reach more than 100,000 views, Brandon argued that the ad revenue offered in return for the numbers is not “a compelling commercial model”.

“Using YouTube as a distributer is a terminal strategy,” he said. “Professionally-made content needs to be cherished. YouTube has a place in marketing, but it has no place as a distributor for professionally-made content. If you think you’re going to make money out of that, you’re mad. The deal that’s available is a mafia deal, which they win.”

He added: “People complain far too much about Google without doing anything about it – and you then wonder why they are in your back garden and your house.

“But if [the broadcasters] keep putting their content on YouTube, then they will be dead in two years. That’s how quick this game is moving.”

However, MCN’s chief sales and marketing officer Mark Frain conceded that YouTube offered the potential to scale content to digital audiences in absence of broadcasters’ own video-on-demand offering across the APAC region.

“The ones that made that decision to put their content on YouTube are perhaps the ones that lack scale in a rapidly fragmenting landscape,” he explained. “They’re left with little option and don’t have the capital to invest in the solution.

“That’s why the aggregated MCN model across platforms [in Australia] probably works best to bring investment, scale and data. Suddenly your option of putting it on YouTube isn’t needed because you can monetise it elsewhere.”

In South East Asia, Kuala Lumpur-founded subscription VOD service Iflix has rapidly scaled across the region. Meanwhile, India’s aggregated video content service Hotstar is said to be eyeing regional and global expansion. 


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