EPL to drive digital pay-tv growth in China

According to Media Partners Asia, pay-TV and broadband revenues in the Asia-Pacific will grow from US$44 billion today to US$102 billion by 2015, with a compound annual growth rate of 11 percent. The MPA report, Asia-Pacific Pay-TV and Broadband Markets 2007, measures the growing consumption and value of multichannel video and broadband services over multiple distribution networks, including cable, satellite, fixed-line and wireless, across 16 territories in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the report, the growth in digital set-top box (STB) deployment in Asia is reaching significant levels. The MPA predicts that net new digital subscriptions will hit an absolute peak of 30 million in Asia by 2010, fuelled by explosive growth in China and India; gradual transition in Korea; continued expansion in Japan and Australia; and full-scale digital migration in most ASEAN markets. By 2015, almost 50 percent of pay-TV households will have a digital STB versus 11 percent in 2006. According to the MPA, total pay-TV subscriptions reached 255 million in Asia last year and will climb to 446 million by 2015.

Broadband household penetration, averaging 13 percent in 2006, could grow to 24 percent by 2012 and 31 percent by 2015. Penetration levels in Korea, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia will peak at 80-90 percent, on average, while penetration in China will continue to climb, approaching 40 percent by 2015. Malaysia will lead the ASEAN region with almost 50 percent broadband household penetration by 2015, while penetration levels in India will remain modest at 11 percent by 2015.

In 2006, the revenue opportunity for pay-TV channels in Asia was estimated at $9.2 billion. This could grow to US$18 billion by 2011 and top US$24 billion by 2015. In terms of the volume of revenue generated, Japan, China, India and Korea lead the way. Japan’s broadband sector will generate approximately US$19 billion in turnover by 2015 and the overall broadband pay-TV market will be worth a sizable US$28 billion in revenue.

In China, total digital subscriptions are expected to scale up from 10 million in 2006 to 70 million by 2011 and reaching 107 million by 2015. This should provide a foundation for pay-TV growth that is spurred by the production of higher quality content, along with services such as HDTV, PVR and VOD. For the first time, English Premier League football matches will be shown on a first-run basis on digital pay-TV in SD and HD formats, starting this year, followed by the 2008 Beijing Olympics.