CASBAA study predicts $874 mn loss in TV industry due to piracy '03 end

HONG KONG: The cable and satellite TV industry would have lost US$874 million in net revenues by the end of 2003 due to piracy.

This was indicated by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) and CLSA Asia Pacific Markets (CLSA) in its report which studied piracy in the industry in all its forms.

The independent study, conducted by CLSA, CASBAA and its member organizations, highlighted the impact of unlicensed operators and pirate cable subscribers on regional economies including those of Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand, a company release specified.

The gross revenue losses across all sectors of the Asia Pacific pay-TV industry, from platform operators to independent suppliers of programming, are estimated to a total of US$1.29 billion for 2003. The cost of piracy is currently increasing at a rate in excess of 10 per cent.

"This is an alarming cost and it continues to escalate at a rapid pace. However, there have been too few efforts to regulate the issue," the company release quoted CASBAA CEO Simon Twiston Davies as saying.

Twiston Davies explains that it has become essential for the industry, regulators and general community to work together to address a problem that is becoming more pervasive by the month.

The survey also shows that under-declaration of pay TV subscribers in India dominates regional piracy numbers, contributing to 72 per cent of revenue leakage. As for the other cities, Hong Kong stands out in comparison with other developed regional cities such as Singapore, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur, reporting a gross loss of US$28 million from pirated cable and satellite subscribers.

The release of the regional piracy report coincides with the CASBAA Convention 2003, which started today and will continue till 31 October in Hong Kong.

A separate session on the piracy issue titled Stealing It: Chasing the Dragons of Asian Piracy will be held tomorrow (29 October) at 2:30 pm at the Academy for Performing Arts in Hong Kong. The session will have a panel discussion on the technical, operational and legal implications of widespread pay-TV piracy in Asia.

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