Asia Pac pay-TV shrugs off downturn


Joseph O'Halloran

| 23 September 2015

Leading pay-TV operators in the Asia Pacific seem immune to current local financial woes and look set to pile on subscribers over the next 12 months.

This is the standout finding of a new study from Digital TV Research which calculates that pay-TV subscriptions for Asia Pacific's top 68 operators will increase by 74% from a collective 376 million in 2014 to 535 million by 2020. This would give the top guns a collective 83% market share of subscribers in the region, compared with the 75% set in 2014.

By individual operator, the Asia Pacific Pay-TV Operator Forecasts report forecasts the juggernaut that is China Radio and TV will roll on as overwhelming market leader growing from having 198 million subs at the end of 2014 to almost 252 million subscribers by 2020, representing virtually every cable TV home in the country. Digital TV Research notes that China Radio & TV has become the world's largest pay-TV operator by a long way thanks mainly to Chinese Government policy to consolidate cable TV operations. Way behind the leader with almost a tenth of China Radio & TV's share will be China Telecom (28 million), the same country's BesTV on 25.1 million, India's Hathway with just over 20 million and the sub-continent's Dish TV with just over 19 million.

Four of 2020's top five operators were present in the same list for 2014 except for that year's No 2 Den Networks which was replaced by Hathway. Korea's CJ Hellovision is set to lose 827,000 subscribers from 20142020, being one of nine operators expected to experience subscriber losses in that time.

From a revenue perspective, the report predicts that total subscription and VOD revenues for the 68 operators will climb by nearly $10 billion between 2014 and 2020 to $33 billion. These operators will account for 80% of Asia Pacific pay-TV revenues by 2020, up from 74% in 2014.

Yet even though China Radio & TV is set to add massive $2.16 billion between 2014 and 2020 and five other operators look likely to add more than $500 million, the report warns that ten operators will lose revenues in the period, with Foxtel declining by the most, $151 million.