Asia-Pacific pay TV market will grow loads by 2015

The Asia Pacific region will have 784 million TV households by 2015 and Pay TV will increase to more than 400 million subscribers by that time according to a new report by Informa.

In its Telecoms and Media forecast report, which looks at the TV and broadcast market, the analyst company said the 2015 figure would be an increase of more than 94 million compared to 2009. It said that TV households will have an average 1.4 TV sets per home, leading to over 1.1 billion sets
across the region by 2015.

Of the 784 million total, the company said 43 percent of these would be subscribed to cable. 

However it said just over a third (33 percent) of households would take only analogue terrestrial signals by 2015. It said this showed that these 259 million homes were evidence that subscription and digital systems still have plenty of room for growth beyond 2015.

According to the report, Pay TV will have more than 400 million subscribers by 2015, which the company said would generate over $40 billion.

And it also seems smaller counties within the Asian continent are growing within the TV subscription space with the company predicting that Vietnam and Indonesia will embrace this medium alongside the regional giants such as China and India. Despite lower pay  Japan’s higher ARPU level means it remains dominant in revenue terms, accounting for 31 percent of the region’s pay TV revenues in 2009.

The company said this share will fall to 29 percent in 2015, mainly at the expense of China, which is catching up fast and will be just behind, also with a 29 percent share, in 2015 (from 20 percent in 2009).

India has championed itself in the space, with Informa describing the country as a “big success story” due to the growth of pay DTH services in the country over recent years.

India overtook Japan as the region’s leading DTH market in 2008 and by 2015 will account for 63 percent of the region’s DTH subscribers.

This trend is reflected in Informa’s operator forecasts for 2009-2015, with five Indian DTH operators expected to add more than 20 million subscribers between them in that period – led by Reliance
with a 6 million increase

And there’s also some encouraging signs in the Digital TV market. According to the company competition between the platforms is intensifying, it said this has pushed digital upgrades up the agenda of many operators and could lead to a rise of 21 percent of the digital TV penetration rate in 2009 to 54 by the end of 2015.

By 2015, digital penetration will have reached 100 percent in four markets, with another four expected to have achieved a penetration rate of 70 percent or more the company said.

Informa warns that despite this generally positive picture, digital upgrades will not be easy to achieve in some markets. In the cable sector in particular, it said subscribers are taking some convincing of the need to upgrade from analogue to digital. China’s recent more conservative approach to media reform has also continued, meaning that the market will take some time to reach its potential.

While the Chinese government has become more cautious on some issues, such as DTH roll out, its proactive approach to converting analogue signals to digital is more positive. China is also experiencing significant IPTV growth and by 2015 is expected to account for 45 percent of the region’s IPTV homes.

This is because broadband network upgrades in some territories make IPTV well-placed to become a significant rival to cable and DTH. However, in some cases networking capacity will hold back IPTV from greater growth. 

Overall Informa reckons that China overtook Japan as the region’s digital leader in 2007 and by the end of 2009 took 46 percent of the regional total. The sheer size of China will see it become an even-more dominant force and by 2015 China will account for more than half (55 percent) of the region’s digital homes. India will take 20 percent and Japan 9 percent, leaving only 16 percent – or 63 million – for the other countries in the region. South Korea will rank fourth and contribute 14 million digital TV homes – or 3 percent of the region’s total.