Jakarta. Discovery Networks Southeast Asia seeks to collaborate with Indonesian businesses, including mobile phone operators and production companies, to expand its reach in the archipelago.
"I would say this is our next big phase [...] to bring investment here. It is a significant amount as we are talking millions of dollars. We cannot tell you the exact figure but it is significant enough to create and bring a good amount of content volume," Shavkat Berdiev, vice president and general manager of Discovery Southeast Asia, told the Jakarta Globe in an interview on Thursday (18/05).
"Indonesia is one of the biggest markets we have in Southeast Asia and it is in the very early stage of producing high-quality content. We are helping Indonesian companies [national television networks and local production houses] to develop content we can sell in other countries, promoting the nation's cultures or local foods, so the country would be known globally," he said.
Discovery Networks Southeast Asia is part of Discovery Communications, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. It operates various flagship television channels and content networks, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC and Eurosport, which are all available in Indonesia.
The television content is sold in bundles to cable operators globally and in Indonesia, it is distributed through various pay-television operators, including Indovision, First Media and Big TV.
Berdiev said Discovery seeks to reach an additional 300 million subscribers in Southeast Asia by 2020. He added that Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore are the leading markets in the region, without giving further detail.
However, he said Discovery expects at least 30 percent of its subscribers to come from Indonesia.
He did not disclose the exact number of current subscribers in Indonesia, nor in Southeast Asia, but according to the company's website, it reached 655 million subscribers in the region per month as of March this year, through 16 channels.
In Indonesia, Berdiev said Discovery's major strategy is to pursue various collaborations, including content sharing and the development of digital content, with local mobile operators to capture a young and tech-savvy audience.
He said it has also set its sights on working closely with a free-to-air television company to target millennials, who have been identified as the company's core market in the region.
"Generally, the cable business is slowing down. Even now, cable operators are going into digital in a bid to capture new subscribers [...] but they are also acquiring more and more digital content," Berdiev said.
Beside meeting with mobile operators, Berdiev said Discovery has also been working closely with the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) to make sure the content will comply with local customs and regulations.
In the Southeast Asian market, Discovery has been collaborating with filmmakers to produce homegrown local content that tell the stories of the people and cultures in each country in the region.
Discovery announced in February that it has 16 new local productions commissioned for the Southeast Asian region.
"These series of local content are part of our efforts to expand our market reach for millennial viewers," Berdiev said.
Discovery's biggest audience is currently in the 30-50 age group, but the company also seeks to attract the younger generation in Southeast Asia.