MUMBAI: The stellar growth rate of Asia-Pacific pay-TV is slowing according to a new report which also says the much-hyped launch of Netflix in the region has so far had little impact on the industry and which highlights a rise in illegal services.

The study from Media Partners Asia projected annual growth of 5.8% across 18 major markets in the region between 2016 and 2021. Pay-TV industry sales during this period are set to increase from $54bn to $72bn, reported.

Subscriber and revenue growth are slowing, the study said, because of economic slowdown and increased competition from online video services.

But the primary threat to pay-TV comes not so much from subscription-based video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix – or regional or local equivalents – as from people moving to free, ad-supported options across both TV and online video as well as illegal services.

With limited opportunities for growth, pay-TV operators are turning to set-top boxes that can also offer OTT video services.

"Pay-TV providers are increasingly focused on repackaging and re-pricing both linear and on-demand services," said Vivek Couto, MPA executive director.

"Local and regional Asian programming is also becoming increasingly important," he continued, while adding that sports, kids, infotainment and Hollywood movies would "remain mainstays of the pay-TV bundle", although the last of these is at particular risk from illegal OTT.

As regards the shift of pay-TV operators into the world of OTT, he noted that few had yet been able to capture or monetize large-scale online video viewing. And while user interfaces and data analytics were improving, this was often occurring "too slowly to effectively compete with legal and illegal OTT rivals".

The future is likely to see viable pay-TV operators become takeover targets "as the worlds of pay-TV, broadband and OTT collide and converge in the wider context of media and telecoms".

Data sourced from; additional content by Warc staff