India one of most poorly regulated TV markets: Casbaa

MUMBAI: India and China are the most poorly regulated markets for pay TV, says a report from the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA).

The Indian market suffers from over-regulation, where bureaucratic fiat substitutes for market forces in setting rates or determining programme packages.

According to the study, ‘Regulating for Growth 2011 — a regulatory regime index for Asia Pacific multichannel television’, India is second lowest (ahead only of China), scoring 43 per cent in the effective regulatory regime index, as compared to 95 per cent attained in developed markets such as New Zealand and the United States.

Hong Kong in Asia was named as the most favourable one, followed by Japan, Australia and Malaysia.

Casbaa chairman Marcel Fenez said, “Our research shows that markets where the regulatory environment is friendly have higher levels of economic activity. This benefits ancillary industries, local content creators, tax collections and enables consumers to access newer forms of technology.”
The Indian pay-TV market needs a lot of improvement as it is handicapped by limits on foreign direct investment, cable operator licenses, fragmentation, distribution price controls, and taxes.

"Regulation of the Indian pay-TV industry has become the most restrictive in the region, if not the world. Almost every aspect of the industry is controlled, from channel availability, retail and wholesale rates, packaging, advertising, investment and even the commercial and technical arrangements between different levels of the supply chain.

"There does not appear to be any prospect of improvement in the near future, though the possibility of widespread digitisation does hold some promise," added the Casbaa report.

According to a report by Media Partners Asia, the Indian pay-TV market adds a miniscule 1.2 per cent to the country‘s national economic output, despite having a subscriber base of over 100 million set by Digital TV Research.
Worsening this, the profit margins in the broadcasting sector fell to 13 per cent in 2010 compared to 23 per cent in 2003 – another offshoot of India’s damaging policy measures.

The Casbaa report examined the effectiveness of government policies in regulating the delivery of video content over multiple networks to paying customers in 17 large pay-TV markets around the world.

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