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Help The Asian Pay TV surge
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<img style="margin: 0 0 0 10px; float:right;" src="http://www.business-standard.com/newsimgfiles/2010/november/08112010/110810_18.jpg" />More than half of television homes in Asia are now pay. Or, 363 million homes compared to North America’s 121 million.

That, among other things, is what a recent report from the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA), states.

The 50 per cent figure is important because it denotes a tipping point of sorts. In most media markets across the world, when penetration of a technology, device or platform hits 50 per cent, the shape of the market starts changing. This is true for both music and cinema, where digital technologies now dominate. It is after digital music hit more than half the music sales in markets such as South Korea or India, that the rot in the music industry was stemmed.

Will that be true for TV? At 99 per cent of all TV homes, South Korea’s penetration is the highest. It is, however, not such an exciting TV market, as it is for gaming or films. Asian growth is led by India (where 75 per cent of all TV homes are pay) and China (48 per cent). Yet, the bulk of pay revenues in India do not come back to broadcasters and distributors. This is for a variety of reasons, both structural and regulatory.

Therefore the true impact of a robust pay industry —programming variety and better advertising yields — is yet to be felt.

The other question the report throws up is whether pay TV revenues in Asia ($30 billion in 2010) can overtake Western Europe ($41.04 billion). The answer to that is simple: They will. That is because of the pace of digitisation in the two markets leading the way, India and China. The question that remains unanswered is if it will benefit the entire value chain or just a few operators.

Source: Business Standard

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