News & EventsSpecial Feature

Get Reach Quick: HD cable households in APAC to increase by 78% to 306 million by 2029

 Are you prepared to capture this growth? 

Intelsat, a prominent global leader of broadcast & communications services with three satellites covering the Asia-Pacific region, has released an intriguing and insightful report on the shifting media trends across the region and how broadcasters can position themselves to capture subscribers and revenue in these highly competitive markets, especially the challenges and opportunities in India.

Intelsat’s Media Market Watch 2021 is designed to provide media professionals with actionable insights to assess the reach, reliability, quality, and revenue potential of technology choices for delivering content.

Shirish Nadkarni, APB+’s News Editor based in Mumbai, takes a deep dive into the Media Market Watch to file this report …

An increase of 78% in cable households across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is indeed an intriguing projection as UK and Europe are experiencing cord-cutting while cord-cutters are still growing day by day in North America.

Across an ever-evolving media landscape, broadcasters are constantly looking for ways to further engage their viewers while also finding innovative ways to capture new audiences. And in the APAC region, there is always a significant market opportunity. The question is: What is the best way to reach that potential? While it can be tempting to focus on new technologies, it is existing reach, growth and revenue that ultimately matter most

Traditional Pay-TV services, with 63% market penetration in the APAC region, lead the way in revenue generation, making the region one of the largest Pay-TV sectors in the world, with an estimated 17 key markets and 655 million subscribers.

According to Intelsat’s Media Market Watch 2021 report, multichannel cable households make up roughly 58% of the market; and, over the next 10 years, cable is expected to maintain its lead in subscribers and revenue.

Are emerging technologies best for broadening reach and building revenue? The most valuable solution is the one distributors already have.

Satellite continues to hold its ground in this competitive market, offering programmers the freedom to innovate thanks to its reliability and revenue-generating opportunities. 

However, Linear TV still leads the way. Although competition for audiences among  distributors is fierce, Pay-TV is the preferred distribution method in this region. In particular, traditional Pay-TV services lead the way in revenue generation and content accessibility, making up 63% of market penetration.

Even in the face of new technology, the S&P data shows that more consumers are looking to add to their existing services, rather than cut the cord completely.

While differences in economies and cultural/social behavior can vary widely – even between regions in the same country – one demographic marker skews strongly in Pay-TV’s favor: age. The median age range of the top Pay-TV countries represents an older demographic that leans toward traditional forms of media. This may be due to the fact that Asian-Pacific countries maintain a more traditional, multi-generational family structure.

Emerging markets giving Linear TV a big boost 

Much of Pay-TV’s growth comes from South-east Asian emerging markets, which show an abundance of growth opportunities in cable and direct-to-home services. In fact, outside of China, India is often considered the backbone of the Pay-TV industry. This is due in part to the affordability of traditional Pay-TV, as well as the availability of Pay-TV in both urban and rural areas. 

Over the next 10 years, cable is expected to maintain its lead in this market, both with subscribers and revenue. Emerging markets like India will lead the charge as cable connections move from analogue to digital. To put that in perspective, 71% of cable households in the APAC market had a digital connection in 2018; and these connections are projected to grow to 97% by 2029. 

In smaller markets, digitisation is driving the cable market. As more analogue  connections migrate to digital, this trend is only expected to continue. Through 2025, the Pay-TV market is expected to continue to grow at a rate of over 2.5% across all services (particularly in India and smaller markets across South Asia) for a projected worth of $26.4 billion by 2029.

Higher-quality content is a must. Across APAC, broadcasters are investing in higher-resolution formats as viewers’ desire for content variety and quality grows. It’s clear that the transition to High-Definition (HD), Ultra-high Definition (UHD), and 4K content is driven by audience interest.

The emergence of new distribution models like Over-The-Top (OTT) have put some pressure on the linear distribution market due to perks like mobile-first viewing and a seemingly endless variety of content. Providers hope that the low cost of streaming platforms will help reach more viewers. 

For largely urbanised places like Australia and Singapore, OTT sees huge success due to strong broadband penetration. But OTT distribution is struggling to keep up with Pay-TV in other areas of this region, thanks partially to OTT exhaustion, and the fact that many mainstream broadcasters are only adding OTT services to augment their traditional cable and satellite packages.

Quality on OTT is inconsistent. Artifacting, pixelation and buffering continue to plague OTT in this region, whereas linear distribution is not crippled by these factors. And some types of content, such as live sporting events, simply don’t work on OTT.

Satellite the most reliable option for distribution 

Satellite continues to be the most reliable and affordable option for distributing media in the Asia-Pacific region, giving programmers access to more revenue to drive more innovative content than ever before.

  • More content: Offers viewers access to more channels in more regional languages.
  • More coverage: Covers a larger expanse of the region than internet-based distribution methods.
  • More flexibility: Meets audiences where they are, leading them to higher-quality programming.
  • More revenue: Gives broadcasters confidence in the sustainability of their business model

Satellite will continue to lead the way for distributors, both regional and international, as content and bandwidth needs rise because of its reliability and larger coverage area. Due to satellite’s reliability, there is less of an outage risk.

Satellite also offers programmers a reliable way to expand and update their content quality and reach. Satellite capacity can be increased on demand. In addition, satellite gives programmers an opportunity to broadcast a variety of content in languages most relevant to the area.

In addition to subscriptions, advertising revenue is another opportunity for programmers. In 2021, TV advertising is expected to hit $60 billion in the region, while online advertising will only reach about $10 billion. For example, in the Philippines, TV advertising spending was about $5 billion in 2018. That number is projected to grow to over $9 billion by 2024.

Indeed, the trends and analyses featured in the report demonstrate that the reach, reliability, capacity and revenue potential of satellite services are proving that it is still the most future-forward option for media distribution.

To read and reap the many Intelsat insights, just click on Media Market Watch 2021

This article was contributed by Intelsat

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