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What Asia Watched in 2020

What Asia Watched in 2020

“What does Asia love watching?” It’s a question we hear often. Yes, we’re all fans of entertainment. But are our tastes similar or different across countries and genres? Do we all love action movies? Are we all romantics at heart, enamoured by Korean Dramas? It’s that time of the year when we find out. 

We looked at viewing trends through 2020, and learnt a few things about what Asia watched—and loved—in 2020. 

ANIME: LOVED ACROSS ASIA

In 2020, the love for anime got stronger. All countries in Asia watched 2X (100%) or more anime in 2020 compared to 2019. Here are the most-popular anime titles in 2020 across Asia: 

Japan: Japan Sinks 2020

Malaysia, Singapore, India: Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back - Evolution

Thailand: Howl’s Moving Castle

Philippines: Weathering with You

Hong Kong, Indonesia: A Whisker Away

Taiwan: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

----- K-DRAMA: THE LOVE AFFAIR ONLY GOT STRONGER

The K-Wave is here to stay. Asian audiences cannot get enough of Korean content. The viewing of K-content went up 4X or more across Asia this year (compared to 2019). Here are the most-popular Korean titles in 2020 across Asia:

South Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand: Kingdom Season 2

India, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore: The King: Eternal Monarch

Indonesia: Start-Up

Taiwan: It's Okay to Not Be Okay

Japan: What's Wrong with Secretary Kim

In South-east Asia, K-Drama dominated the Top 10 lists. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay stayed in the top 10 list for over 100 days in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The competition came from some more K-drama titles such as The King: Eternal Monarch, Itaewon Class, Hi Bye, Mama, Record of Youth, and Mystic Pop-Up Bar, as well as popular Hollywood titles such as Money Heist, Snowpiercer and Sex Education

2020 was also the year in which we discovered new genres, and fell in love with them. 

DOCUMENTARIES: FROM NICHE TO MAINSTREAM

Not so long back, documentaries were seen as niche. But online entertainment has made them accessible. BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky dominated the list, showing that local stories get fans excited. Here are the most-popular documentaries in 2020 across Asia:

Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, S Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand: BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky

Japan: Arashi’s Diary

Philippines: American Murder: The Family Next Door

India: Bad Boy Billionaires

REALITY TV: HOW WE ESCAPED (WHILE DEALING WITH 2020)

India, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea discovered reality TV in 2020. In these countries, it was one of genres that rose most in popularity in 2020 compared to 2019. We also watched a lot more reality TV as we went into lockdown: across Asia, the viewing for reality TV was higher between March-July 2020 than it was in Jan-Feb 2020. Too Hot to Handle was unanimously the most-watched reality show across Asia. Indian Matchmaking and Twogether were popular too. Here are the most-popular reality series in 2020 across Asia:

India: Too Hot to Handle; Indian Matchmaking

Malaysia: Too Hot to Handle; Floor Is Lava

Singapore: Too Hot to Handle; Indian Matchmaking

S Korea: Too Hot to Handle; Heart Signal Season 3

Thailand: Too Hot to Handle; Twogether

Japan: Too Hot to Handle; Love is Blind

Taiwan: Too Hot to Handle; Twogether

Hong Kong: Too Hot to Handle; Floor is Lava

ACTION FILMS: THANKS, CHRIS HEMSWORTH

Who doesn’t like action? Especially when it features Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron or Jamie Foxx. Extraction, the most watched title of all time on Netflix, also topped the action viewing in Asia. It had competition from some amazing locally made action films in Thailand, South Korea, and India. Here are the most-popular action titles of 2020 across Asia

Malaysia: Extraction, The Old Guard, Project Power

Singapore: Extraction, The Old Guard, Project Power

India: Extraction, Malang, The Old Guard

Philippines: Extraction, The Old Guard, Anna

Thailand: Extraction, The Old Guard, Necromancer 2020

S Korea: The Old Guard, Extraction, Hitman: Agent Jun

Japan: Venom, The Old Guard, Extraction

Hong Kong: Extraction, The Old Guard, Project Power

Taiwan: Extraction, The Old Guard, Project Power

HORROR: WE SCARE-WATCHED #ALIVE

Horror not for everyone? Guess again. The Korean zombie film #Alive was in the Top 10 list in 90 countries, making it one of the most-loved titles on Netflix in 2020. In Asia, too, #Alive dominated horror viewing.  The most-popular horror title of 2020 is unanimous across Asia

Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, S Korea, Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan: #Alive

DRAMA: STRONG FEMALE LEADS FOR THE WIN

It’s been a dramatic year. But we’ve also felt like we haven’t done much beyond going from the bed to the sofa to the makeshift work desk. But we lived vicariously through dramas on Netflix. And we fell in love with inspirational strong female leads, from budding detective Enola Holmes to chess whiz Beth Harmon, and Gunjan Saxena, who followed her dream to become an  Indian Air Force officer. Here are the most-watched drama titles of 2020 across Asia:  

Malaysia, SIngapore, Philippines, Indonesia: Enola Holmes

Hong Kong, Taiwan: The Queen's Gambit: Limited Series

India: Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl

Sarit Ray

Product Communications Manager | APAC

saritr@netflix.com