PWC strikes upbeat note on broadband, net advertising

MUMBAI: "Broadband as well as Net advertising has arrived, especially in Asia, and the popularity of paid web searches is growing." This was the tone adopted by Price Waterhouse Coopers Marcel Fenez this morning at Frames 2004 when he spoke on the emerging trends emerging in the global entertainment space.

The entertainment industry will grow at a compounded rate of just under five per cent in India, Fenez said. For India, he said that advertising would grow at 10 per cent a year. Internet related spending which is very low would also see a push. Global ad spending would reach the $375 billion mark by 2007. One thing that could affect the scenario was the uncertainty that still prevailed, citing the example of the recent train blast in Madrid. In Asia, ad growth will outpace GDP growth in the next 18 months. "That is not the case in the US and Europe."

For Asia, he predicted that television ad spend would grow faster than print this year. This would occur on account of the Olympics. Digital content would expand and with this, customers would migrate from one platform to the other. "The consumer will drive what happens to a particular delivery method" he added.

In Asia, he said that 169 million homes were broadband enabled. The global broadband universe will grow from a mere 42 million homes to over 400 million homes by the end of this year. The internet was the fastest growing segment at 15 per cent compounded annual growth. Multi channel television is growing at eight per cent. The great new for advertisers on the internet is that broadband shoppers spend more time online than those on dial up. Therefore the volume of internet advertising would grow after being stagnant in 2001-2002. Another important trend is in the video gaming arena where Sony's Playstation is making rapid strides. In the region this segment is poised for a growth of over nine per cent, he said.

On the flip side, he noted that piracy was happening to the tune of $1.2 billion a year. This activity isgrowing at 11 per cent a year. In China, the figure is as high as 95 per cent while in India it ranges from 25-50 per cent. "However it is heartening to see that the music companies are finally getting their act together. The prices of legitimate products is falling. The authorized file sharing activity will kick off in a big way in 2007."

Trai chairman Pradip Baijal stressed on the importance of the regulator focusing on growth. He said that the committee would be coming with a tariff regulation report on cable television in three months time. He also said that one of the challenges would be the framing of rules for interconnectivity. These would determine different relationships such as the one between the broadcaster and broadband operator.

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