Pay TV is weathering storm

A Rapid TV News ‘Round Table’ which focused on Conditional Access saw panellists agree that pay-TV broadcasting is weathering the economic downturn.

David Whittaker, director/Business Development & Advance Technologies and NDS, and Ivan Verbesselt, SVP at Nagravision, part of the Kudelski Group participated in the Rapid Round Table. Notwithstanding the collapse a few days ago of GTV, a pan-African pay-TV broadcaster, the panel was optimistic about the future for pay-TV.

“Whilst there is a certain turbulence in the world it’s definitely the case that many new digital television deployments and platforms are coming on line, and there is a strong series of new deployments,” said David Whittaker. “This will require large quantities of set top boxes, many of these are transitions from analogue to digital and many of those businesses are focused on adapting an existing analogue television set in a home to receive digital broadcasts and the set top box is the [key] device as we’ve seen for the past ten or so years. Because the market is expanding across the world we will definitely see a large volume of set top boxes moved into those areas. And of course that presents some conditional access opportunities.”

Despite this optimism it could have been the situation that Finance Directors and CFOs are tightening their belts as far as fresh investment in pay-TV is concerned. Not so, implies Nagravision’s Ivan Verbesselt.

“We’re currently not observing that trend, although no one has a crystal ball of course. Digital TV seems to be weathering the storm pretty well as a credible alternative to more expensive outdoor activity. I think that’s pretty promising, helped by analogue switch off [that’s] now definitely happening. And then there’s the growth areas. Let’s not forget there’s growth areas like Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Eastern Europe which are just set for an impressive growth which might just be compensating any eventual slowdown that we might be seeing there. So I think its fair to say that all-in-all the overall market is still going to grow at a double digit rate, so that’s very promising, but again no-one has a crystal ball.”