18 April 2007
to be top Asia-Pacific pay TV market by 2015
(c) 2007 Reuters Limited.
MUMBAI, April 18 (Reuters) - India is
set to become the top pay television market in Asia-Pacific
by 2015, but excessive regulation could hamstring growth
and commoditise the industry, research firm Media
Partners Asia (MPA) said in a report.
Indian pay TV revenue from advertising and subscription
grew 17 percent in 2006 to $4.2 billion, and was likely
to more than double to $10 billion by 2011 and then
rise to $16 billion by 2015, Hong Kong-based MPA said
a report. India had 71 million television homes in 2006,
of which 61 percent had pay television, MPA said. Penetration
was forecast to rise in 2015 to nearly 90 percent of
an estimated 185 million television homes.
With those totals, the direct-to-home (DTH) satellite
market would grow from about 2.6 million subscribers
in 2006 to 38 million by 2015, MPA estimated.
India, currently the world's third-largest pay TV market,
has a population of more than 1 billion.
MPA said regulation in India was becoming "intrusive",
especially in revenue-sharing deals, retail and wholesale
rates, as well as programme exclusivity and distribution.
“This has potentially damaging consequences for
pay TV content and distribution, which could become
heavily commoditised in the long term,” MPA Executive
Director Vivek Couto said.
Profit margins of top broadcasters, including News
Corp.'s Star India, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd., Sony Entertainment TV and Sun TV would be under pressure
from competition and higher operating costs.
Greater digitisation of distribution would stem piracy
and under-declaration of subscriber numbers by cable
operators, and also encourage consolidation of operators
and distributors. "In the short to medium term,
private equity and financial investors could fund cable
consolidation, though current valuations for (distributors)
are inflated," Couto said.
Potential investors included CVC Asia [CVC.UL], Singapore
state investor Temasek [TEM.UL], Carlyle Group [CYL.UL],
Macquarie Media Group , ChrysCapital and Providence
Equity Partners, the MPA report said.
In the direct-to-home sector, Tata Sky, a joint venture
of the Tata group and News Corp., competes with Dish
TV and state-owned Prasar Bharti. Sun TV and mobile
phone firms Reliance Communications Ltd. and Bharti
Airtel Ltd. also plan to launch services.
Malaysia’s Astro All-Asia Networks Plc recently bought
20 percent in Sun Direct TV for $166 million.