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Re-think on the cards for Asia-Pacific’s pay-TV industry

2018 Asia-Pacific Pay-TV Innovation examines key challenges facing pay-TV industry in the region and how these challenges can be addressed

Driven by the proliferation of high-quality over-the-top (OTT) services and widespread piracy, the pay-TV industry in Asia-Pacific is experiencing significant challenges, said the 2018 Asia-Pacific Pay-TV Innovation Forum.

During a recent event in Singapore, pay-TV providers indicated that they expect to see a slowdown in growth and, in some mature markets, a decline in revenue from traditional pay-TV services. This, the participants said, can be attributed to the fact the consumers in both advanced and emerging countries in Asia-Pacific are increasingly choosing streaming services.

OTT service providers, conversely, see great potential for growth in the region. Many are now focusing on hybrid business models that balance free and paid offerings, and rely on marketing partnerships with telcos. However, most are not yet breaking even, and converting users into paying customers remain a critical challenge as the market grows more crowded and competitive.

To adapt to the new competitive landscape, three key priorities were identified. First, pay-TV providers were told to offer a more diverse range of packages and services at a wider range of price points and across different devices, leveraging existing pay-TV infrastructure, as well as fixed and mobile broadband networks.

Pay-TV operators and content owners were also urged to re-think how they work together, and to move away from legacy business models in order to support a more diverse range of products and services.

Lastly, there must be a more concerted industry effort to combat piracy. By increasing investment in effective technological solutions, supporting anti-piracy initiatives — such as CASBAA’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) — and lobbying to improve legal frameworks and government enforcement, pirates can be effectively tacked, said the Pay-TV Innovation Forum, a programme started by NAGRA and MTM, an international research and strategy consultancy.

Simon Trudelle, senior director, product marketing, NAGRA, concluded: “Asia-Pacific is a complex region for pay-TV, with advanced and emerging markets facing a multitude of challenges that can require specific solutions in each country. What is clear is that regardless of their market conditions and subscriber base, all service providers need to re-think how they face these challenges if they are to maintain growth.

“By working with content owners and third parties, they can effectively combat the dual-pronged attack they face from OTT providers and pirates to offer consumers compelling experiences tailored to their individual requirements.”

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