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Asian Pay-TV Enters Slow Growth Phase, Says Study

Variety — Patrick Frater

The pay-TV industry in Asia will grow by 5% this year and may continue to expand at a headline rate of 3% until 2023. But parts of the sector are now in reverse, reflecting the impact of Internet-based distribution.

The latest edition of “Asia Pacific Pay-TV Distribution” report published by leading industry analysts Media Partners Asia, forecasts sector revenue of $56 billion in the region’s 17 largest markets. By 2023 that could reach $66 billion.

The consultancy published its numbers this week at the same time as Netflix, one of the biggest challenges to the conventional broadcast and pay-TV industries, unveiled a massive slate of new content at a two-day event in Singapore.

The pay-TV growth momentum comes largely from India, growing at 8% per year to reach $16 billion, and China, where growth is forecast at 3%, reaching $25 billion in five years. Growth rates in Korea and Japan are predicted at 3% and 1% respectively, both ending with sectors worth $7 billion.
Growth will halt in otherwise developing markets of Indonesia and the Philippines, while Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will register revenue declines ranging between 1% and 6% per year.

“The growth of high-speed broadband and online video is driving fundamental changes in content consumption and investment across key markets. This, together with piracy, will continue to adversely impact pay-TV industry growth,” said Vivek Couto, MPA executive director. “There will be more fixed broadband subs than pay-TV subs across much of Asia Pacific by 2021, while the gap between the mobile broadband subs base and pay-TV & fixed broadband subs will further widen as mobile networks emerge as a major means for mass content distribution, accelerating the shift in content consumption from households to individuals.”

In terms of subscribers, MPA suggests that number will reach 645 million subscriptions, representing 57% of TV homes in 2018. That could reach 696 million by 2023, according to MPA projections. But pay-TV penetration by 2023 will fall to 55% of TV homes when adjusted for multiple subscriptions, largely due to an acceleration in cable cord cutting in China.

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