Pirates Plunder Asian Pay-TV Revenues

30 October 2008

HONG KONG: Pay-TV providers and broadcasters in Asia lost revenues of $1.75 billion (€1.40bn; £1.12) due to piracy in the twelve months to June , a total up 14% year-on-year. This partly offset a 17% increase in official subscriptions within the region, reports the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia.

The industry body worked with Standard Chartered Bank to assess how much income was lost due to viewers watching unauthorised satellite links, set-top boxes or "gray market" cable platforms (but does not include possible online infringements).

It estimates that the pay-TV industry in Asia now has a value of $26bn, but CASBAA  chairman, Marcel Fenez, warns: "As the product becomes more valuable, it is more prone to theft." 

India was said to be the biggest single market in terms of lost revenue, with piracy costing broadcasters around $1.1bn. Many of the nation's  85m cable households use “gray market” providers.

By contrast, just $187m was thought be lost through pirated set-top boxes throughout Asia as a whole. 
Many Indian broadcasters include data on unofficial cable users in the viewing estimates they give advertisers, a practice,Fenez says. that constitutes “theft from the legitimate value chain."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff