HONG KONG: Broadcasters see big opportunities in Asia but piracy poses a grave threat to the region's media businesses, an expert has said.

Speaking at the 2010 CASBAA conference, Lions Gate Vice Chairman Michael Burns recognised that Asia remains one of the world's most-promising media markets, but added that widespread fraud remains a big block to growth.

The easy availability of pirate films and TV shows in many parts of Asia limits broadcasters' ability to monetise their output.

"Asia today is the wild East where extraordinary opportunity awaits all of us, if we don't shoot ourselves in the head first," Burns said.

"Entertainment content is a precious commodity like oil and gas and there isn't a business model in the world where 20, 40 and 50 cents of each dollar is not lost to pirated products.

"We look to our production, distribution and government partners to work with us in fighting the single, most vicious threats to our media industry today."

Burns also recognised new media's seismic impact on Asian society.

With the Pay-TV sector enjoying double-digit annual growth and  broadband infrastructure developing rapidly, long-established national and cultural barriers were finally being broken down.

"When we look at markets like India, China and Japan we should be thinking in hundreds of millions, not hundreds of thousands, because the consumer appetite for content is rampant and so is the opportunity," Burns said. 

"When we look at the future, Asia is a critical cross-road for us, as it is for many businesses today."

Data sourced from Marketing-Interactive.com; additional content by Warc staff