With a range of television options that run the gamut from OTT to DTH, the main video markets are now offering a wealth of different dynamics and opportunities. As with natural geography, the Asian video landscape varies widely, depending on where you are.
Across the board, there seem to be a few hard and fast “truths” to what is happening in Asia’s video sector. Parts of the region are on the verge of explosive growth. Content consumption is on the rise and in demand from a strong demographic. Satellite will remain an important part of every facet of the video market because of its unmatched ability to distribute content to people located in remote or less populated areas.
Simon Twiston Davies, CEO of CASBAA, says that Asia has the advantage of continued economic growth. “With an average of about 8 percent across the region, with some fluctuation depending on the country, Asia has an increasingly informed media market with positive demographics coming through. People under the age of 30 are driving consumption for increased media services and options and satellite technology provides the ultimate backhaul for it. Video is gradually migrating from analog to digital format and migration from SD to HD content is becoming more standard, which is driving usage of satellite capacity and demand.”
Replacement rates for Asian satellites are high, according to Twiston Davies. “Orbital slots are more valuable, deregulation of turnaround services is increasing and there are more requests turning up. There is huge demand for content — from India, Indonesia and some other countries. Satellite will play an enormous role in exporting content out of Asia into other markets where consumers demand it.”
Many markets in the region are showing huge potential, and some of the numbers related to DTH growth are a match for those found anywhere in the world. Media Partners Asia is one of the leading consultancies in the region that produces DTH and pay-TV forecasts across the region. India continues to be one of the most dynamic DTH markets anywhere in the world, says Vivek Couto, executive director, Media Partners Asia. “The growth [in India] last year was lower than before. I think the active subscriber base is around 29 million. It is growing at around 6 million to 7 million a year. The reason it has slowed is because operators have started to increase package prices. As an industry, the operators have come together to do more rational pricing, as well as reduce trade margins across the industry. The industry has cleaned up. It has become more rational. Digitalization is a massive opportunity for them.”
There are also other markets, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, which are showing strong signs of DTH take-up. Couto adds, “In Indonesia, the market added about 600,000 new subscribers last year, and about half of that came from SkyVision. You have two other players in that market. Aora is another player in that market, there’s also some new entrants on DTT like NexMedia. In the Philippines, Cignal TV, the DTH service owned by PLDT, has grown the market substantially. Last year, the market added about 160,000 – 170,000 new subscribers. Most of that came through Cignal. The ARPUs are low but they are doing well. They will probably break even in the next couple of years.”
Vietnam, with a population of almost 90 million people, has yet to see explosive DTH growth as the country continues to deal with an economic recession, adds Couto. “The country’s GDP grew around 6 percent, which is not great for Vietnam. This is a bit of a tougher market for DTH. The Canal+ platform is doing okay, but not as great as expected.”