“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