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Digital penetration of pay-TV subs in APAC to reach 90% by 2023: MPA

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MUMBAI: The Asia-Pacific pay-TV industry will grow at a 6.6 per cent average annual rate from 2014 to 2019, according to a new report, Asia Pacific Pay-TV & Broadband Markets, released by Media Partners Asia (MPA).

MPA projects industry sales to climb from $52 billion in 2014 to $72 billion by 2019 and to $84 billion by 2023. Despite robust growth, the region’s pay-TV industry is under pressure however, as the pace of both subscriber and revenue growth decelerates.

In Southeast Asia, a significant slowdown in Indonesia and Thailand will apply the brakes to regional momentum, partially offset by significant expansion in the Philippines and decent gains in Malaysia.

Revenue growth will be at its most robust and scalable in large territories such as India, Korea and China as well as smaller markets such as Hong Kong and the Philippines. Australia will offer much improved subscriber momentum, although revenue expansion will lag.

Ex-China, which remains a utility oriented and highly regulated pay-TV market, Asia added10.8 million net new pay-TV customers in 2014, slower than the 11.2 million added in 2013 and significantly slower than the average 15-18 million net additions that occurred between 2008-11.

MPA projections indicate a spike in net additions will occur in 2016, due to India’s next phase of cable digitalization, with a steady deceleration likely to follow. Including China, MPA sees total pay-TV subscribers in Asia-Pacific growing from 500 million 2014 to 598 million by 2023.

Adjusted for multiple connections in a household, pay-TV penetration of TV households will grow from 54 per cent in 2014 to 61 per cent by 2023. In Asia ex-China, adjusted pay-TV penetration is expected to grow from 55 per cent to 60 per cent over the same period.

Digital penetration of pay-TV subs in Asia-Pacific will increase from 70 per cent in 2014 to 90 per cent by 2023 as all major pay-TV markets covered in the report go 100 per cent digital except for India (70 per cent),Pakistan (32 per cent), Sri Lanka (94 per cent), and Thailand (53 per cent).

HD penetration of total digital pay-TV subs will grow from 24 per cent to 44 per cent over the same period, with penetration between 50-90 per cent in Australia, China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Singapore.

Over 2014-19, value-added services (VAS), driven by VOD, will be the fastest growing segment for Asia’s pay-TV industry, as revenues climb at a 13.2 per cent CAGR from 2014-19.Key market drivers of VOD include Australia, China, Japan and Korea, while Malaysia and Hong Kong lead amongst smaller markets.

MPA projects that authenticated TV Everywhere (TVE) services will not generate meaningful revenue but remain a churn reducer in most markets.

In standout pay-TV markets such as India and Korea, a combinationof high volume and a level of ARPU upside (partially off set by price competition), inaggregate, will drive subscription revenue growth. Higher yields will also boost growth in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

According to MPA, pay-TV advertising will grow from $10 billion in 2014 to $14.3 billion by 2019, with growth driven by high base markets such as India and Korea along with China. Australia, Japan and Taiwan will remain material, although growth in each of these markets will soften.

The pay-TV ad opportunity in Southeast Asia will remain under-exploited, partially due to limited penetration in most markets, but also because of poor execution.

MPA executive director Vivek Couto said, “Pay-TV operators are striving to either reignite growth or sustain existing momentum with a new cycle of value creation. A number of operators are repackaging products with improved price points (i.e. Australia), tiering (i.e. Hong Kong) and slimmer, low-ARPU packs (i.e. Philippines). Most players have invested to enhance programme windows and offer more VOD. Others are climbing the curve of product innovation with all-HD platforms, with more local and Asian content, as well as live sports, a key mainstay for pay-TV.”

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