Asian pay-TV to soar to US$40b

Rose Major

Asia-Pacific pay-TV revenues will increase seven-fold in value to over US$40 billion by 2014, according to a new report from Informa Telecoms & Media. By that date, 44% of homes will receive digital signals, up from just 17% at the end of last year.

China will account for over half of the region’s digital TV total, with 163.5 million subs (51% of the region), up from 47.9 million (44%) at present. India will have 61.8 million (19%) up from 18.4 million now (17%), Japan 37.2 million (12%) up from 20.7 million (19%). The rest of the region will have 57.5 million (18%) up from 21.4 million (20%) now.

Triple-play bundles from both IPTV and cable operators are starting to have a major impact on the sector, the report asserts, particularly as a customer retention tool. By 2014, only 34% of IPTV subs will be stand-alone subscribers, although 70% of cable TV subs will still be just taking TV.

Adam Thomas, author of the report, says: “The IPTV players are changing their emphasis away from competing head-on with the other premium pay TV services. Instead they are looking for any way to gain scale. If this means a low-cost or even free strategy, then so be it.”

Thomas adds: Longer term the IPTV operators hope to use this scale to up-sell to more expensive packages and services. We expect this to have some success, with blended ARPU rising. But we also see the TV component of ARPU going down, as cable and satellite cut prices to remain competitive.”