Thai entertainment and media (E&M) revenues are set to rise 6.3% to THB547.6bn in 2021, up from THB515bn a year earlier, when the COVID-19 crisis upended the industry's growth, according to PwC's Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2020-2024.
The top three fastest growing segments in 2021 are expected to be cinema, then music, radio and podcasts and finally out-of-home advertising. Video games and e-sports, another notable segment, is set to see revenues top THB35bn by 2024, it says.
The Outlook provides revenue data and predictions for 14 industry segments across 53 territories including Thailand. Looking across the five-year forecast period, from 2019 to 2024, the outlook forecasts Thailand E&M spending to rise to more than THB600bn.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the overall Thai economy in the past year," said Tithinun Vankeo, Assurance Partner and Entertainment & Media Leader for PwC Thailand.
"Our forecast shows that Thai E&M revenue in 2020 dropped about 2% from a year ago. That said, we believe that the market will be able to bounce back this year. Segments like cinema, music, radio and podcasts and out-of-home advertising will lead the recovery, whereas books, traditional TV and newspaper and magazine will be hit the hardest, with revenues projecting to enter negative growth."
The Outlook data shows that in 2021, top E&M segments where revenues are expected to recover the fastest include cinema (54% to THB7.6bn), music, radio and podcasts (27% to THB12.3bn) and out-of-home advertising (25% to THB12.9bn).
In contrast, books (-1.6% to THB25.3bn), traditional TV and home video (-0.4% to THB19.9bn) and newspaper and consumer magazine (-0.03% to THB34bn) will contract compared with last year, it shows.
Total global spending on E&M in 2020 declined 5.6% from a year ago - the sharpest fall in the 21-year history of this research. In 2021, however, global E&M spending is forecast to grow by 6.4% to THB67.1tn. Looking across the five-year forecast period, from 2019 to 2024, overall revenue growth is projected to run at a 2.8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), compared with 3.4% CAGR in Thailand.
Video games and e-sports segment is one to watch
The video games and e-sports industry will likely see strong growth in Thailand fuelled by increasing revenues from broadcasting and sponsorship. In the coming five years, it's projected to rise at a 7.2% CAGR to reach THB35.4bn in 2024, up from an expected market value of THB29.7bn this year.
This will make Thailand's video games and e-sports market the 6th fastest-growing in Asia Pacific after Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore, respectively.
"Today the e-sports industry in Thailand is no longer just an online game but an emerging sector with rapid development in recent years with high growth potential," Tithinun said.
"The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has included e-sports as a sports category, which opened up tremendous growth opportunities to the market and created countless jobs in the industry. This includes professional athletes, commentators and streamers, you name it. Business sectors have increasingly shown interest in sponsoring or investing in the sector, which is highly optimised for the digital economy," she said.
The PwC Outlook said the growth of mobile games in the country has opened up a vast new market of potential video-game consumers who previously lacked either the funds or the interest to invest in a PC or games console. Social/casual gaming revenue overtook revenue from traditional gaming formats in 2017 and has continued to surge ever since.
When asked about the Thai E&M industry's prospects in 2021, Tithinun concluded:
"The year 2020 presents a great challenge for Thai entertainment and media businesses. The industry is among those that saw spending and economic activity disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, we expect to see a gradual recovery this year.
"Rapid shifts in consumer behaviour towards digital will have both positive and negative consequences for different media. EM operators who are faster at embracing digitalisation will have an advantage and be able to survive in this business environment. On the other hand, those who continue to provide traditional services will surely struggle in keeping their businesses afloat, and may go out of business altogether."
Source: PwC Thailand