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OTT driving Taiwan multichannel video: CASBAA study

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MUMBAI: A new study by regional pay-TV industry group CASBAA shows that overall access to multi-channel video services of all kinds in Taiwan is being bolstered by a mobile video market now accounting for 92 per cent of all individuals.

According to the CASBAA study (to be discussed on 22 June during the “Taiwan in View 2017” conference in Taipei), with 15 locally established OTT platforms (as opposed to cross-border pirate services delivered from illegal off-shore servers) the largest group of OTT followers in Taiwan are young women aged 18-34, some 42 per cent of the total. Together with 18-34 year-old males, almost 70 per cent of OTT subscribers are “binge” viewers.

The fast-rising level of mobile broadband penetration is benefitting cable TV and IPTV operators as they develop their own multiscreen services. No longer limited to traditional TV viewing, Taiwan’s mobile broadband subscribers are downloading apps and logging-in to pay-TV programming of all kinds.

With access to fully digitized networks (95 per cent of Taiwan’s 5.2m cable TV subs) Taiwan’s pay-TV platforms now offer value added services such as VoD, interactive music and games, along with newly sophisticated EPGs, PVRs and the promise of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality services.

In line with the Netflix model, local pay-TV platforms are also bundling their own content with that of non-domestic program providers, developing exclusive content and packaging that appeals to younger consumers. Meanwhile, according to CASBAA, complex government constraints on cable TV investment under Taiwan’s ownership rules continue to hold back the industry. (These preclude any minimal state ownership (no matter how indirect) in pay-TV – but not telcos. The result is that “convergent” investment is difficult.)

“The complicated rules on investment, along with a hugely damaging level of content piracy, are not only holding back the growth of the local pay-TV market but also the overall economic development of Taiwan as a whole,” said CASBAA chief policy officer John Medeiros.

“Living with massive revenue leakage from piracy while blocking sufficient investment in the digital economy, Taiwan is falling behind its natural potential as a regional communications hub,” said CASBAA CEO Christopher Slaughter.

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