Television

Casbaa backs Wipo broadcast treaty

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MUMBAI: The Hong Kong-based Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa) has endorsed the conclusion of a treaty on the Protection of Broadcasting Organizations currently being negotiated (this round 17-19 November) in the World Intellectual Property Organization (Wipo). The Treaty updates the rights of broadcasters over the distribution of multi-channel television signals.

"To ensure that the Wipo Broadcast Treaty is consistent with ongoing market and technological developments, Casbaa believes its scope should include all content delivery mechanisms, including unencrypted free-to-air digital broadcasts and web-casting," the association declared in a statement issued out of Hong Kong.

"Ensuring that all broadcasters and other distributors of content to consumers have updated and adequate rights in their signals will help combat the scourge of signal piracy which is costing Asian broadcasters, economies and governments millions of dollars and undermining growth and investment in pay-TV throughout the region," Casbaa CEO Simon Twiston Davies said.

"A Wipo broadcast treaty will establish an international consensus on the rights and protections needed to give broadcasters and governments the tools to bring pirates to justice," said Davies.

Casbaa, along with CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, launched the second annual Asia-Pacific Cost of Pay-TV Piracy Report in October 2004 highlighting the impact of signal piracy throughout Asia. PricewaterhouseCoopers, which contributed to the Report, concludes that the financial loss to government in lost taxes, license fees and other revenues from signal piracy is at least US$152 million.

Additional information from the cost of Pay TV piracy report 2004:

The cost of piracy in India ($565 million) continued to dominate regional piracy numbers, contributing 58 per cent of total revenue leakage.

The Philippines ($70 million) suffered a dramatic surge of 345 per cent in net revenues lost to the industry driven primarily by a jump in the number of detected unauthorized cable subscribers as compared with the 2003 Report. The loss in Indonesia ($21 million) soared by 183 per cent.

Hong Kong ($25 million loss) suffered a 66 per cent increase in revenues lost to pirated cable subscribers in the 2004 estimates, but the piracy cost associated with satellite overspill has fallen by 16 per cent, due in part to industry liberalization (reported subscribers in Hong Kong have jumped 58 per cent year-on-year).

Thailand's loss ($141 million) was up 23 per cent year on year. The report concluded that 1.1 million subscribers access unlicensed pay television services in Thailand.

Singapore and Vietnam experienced worsening situations, while Taiwan's signal theft figures remained similar to 2003. Early indications suggest that efforts to counter a breach in the systems designed to counteract piracy in Malaysia during the third quarter of 2004 have been successful, providing a standout example for other regional markets. South Korea is the only market with no material piracy reported. Australia and China are not covered by the survey in 2004.

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