MUMBAI: India’s digital pay-TV market has been driven by the recent exceptional growth in the digital DTH market, but there are at least 1.7 million digital cable subscriptions.
Announcing new data for Asia's pay-TV market, the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa) has said that there are 71 million digital pay-TV homes. This is out of a total of 300 million pay-TV subscriptions across Asia.
India and China are demonstrating an increased pick-up for digital pay-TV services. While India has 8.5 million digital pay-TV households, China represents 34 million digital cable connections.
While the pay-TV market has grown to almost 300 million subscribers across the region, Casbaa also revealed that the net cost of pay-TV piracy in 2008 will top $1.7 billion this year, up from $1.5 billion in 2007.
In India, the grey market for cable TV services has grown proportionally to the rapid growth in the overall market, topping $1.1 billion. This grey market in India largely consists of cable connections that are under reported by cable operators.
Meanwhile, in Thailand and the Philippines the outright commercial theft and unauthorised redistribution of cable programming remains a serious issue. Piracy in Thailand will result in net industry losses of $184 million by year-end 2008, while the piracy figure for the Philippines will stand at $94 million.
In emerging pay-TV markets such as Vietnam and Pakistan, industry growth remains strong. In Vietnam, the legitimate market has more than doubled this year. In Pakistan, which is now estimated by Casbaa to have up to eight million connections to pay-TV services, only a small minority of these is legitimate, and the net losses to industry have increased to $126 million, the equivalent of 7.2 million subscriptions.
In some markets technological advances have impacted the level of revenue leakage. For instance, in urban Indonesia and the Philippines, ongoing conversions of analogue networks to digital have reduced individual household “line-tapping”.
Hong Kong’s increasing reliance on digital TV systems has also made it more difficult for pirates to tap into pay-TV networks with piracy now accounting for $20 million, down from $26 million last year.
Casbaa notes that the Asian pay-TV markets with the lowest level of revenue leakage (or piracy) are generally those with the highest percentages of digital deployment, according to the findings of the 2008 Pay-TV Piracy Survey, conducted by Casbaa in collaboration with the Creative Industries Division of Standard Chartered Bank.
For instance, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore and New Zealand are almost 100 per cent digital and have the lowest piracy levels.
China’s most recent growth was clearly driven by the Olympics. The next trick will be to enable new premium content to enter the market to encourage increased ARPU and to stimulate additional demand.
6 months ago