Asia Pacific Pay-TV Revenues Lag Despite Big Subscriber Base

Jonathan Sutton

A recent study conducted by research firm Informa Media and Media has revealed that Asia Pacific is set to surpass the 1 billion TV units milestone in 2012, making it the largest television market in the world. Moreover, the region has been identified as the global leader in pay-TV market, with an impressive 394 million homes subscribed to premium television channels at the end of last year, which is hardly surprising given the presence of two countries with the world’s highest populations – China and India.

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Asia Pacific pay-TV revenues lag despite big subscriber base

Having the highest number of pay-TV subscribers doesn’t however translate to table-topping earnings for the Asia Pacific region, which is worth nearly USD 67 billion (£41 billion) – comprising USD 33.5 billion (£21 billion) from television commercials and USD $33.1 billion (£20 billion) from premium television channel subscriptions – according to Informa. When it comes to pay-TV revenue on a country-to-country basis, China and India could only settle for fourth and fifth place respectively in the overall rankings – the USA generated more than five times the combined pay-TV revenues of these two countries, even though its subscriber base was three times smaller.

Informa’s research also calculated each Asia-Pacific country’s pay-TV revenue generated in 2011 as a proportion of its GDP. Somewhat unexpectedly, Malaysia emerged as the leader in the region by this measure: the nation posted pay-television revenues of slightly more than USD 1 billion (£617 million) last year, which represented 0.41% of GDP. In contrast, Indonesia was the least lucrative of the fourteen countries analysed, with a pay-TV-revenue to GDP ratio of 0.06%. China’s and India’s figures were 0.12% and 0.35% respectively, with the latter benefiting from rapid growth of its digital satellite television services.

Commenting on the findings, Adam Thomas, media research manager at Informa, said that while TV executives often concentrate on the Chinese and Indian markets due to their sheer population and potential, there exist other countries in the Asia-Pacific region whose households are more likely to open their wallets for pay television channels.