Regional TV Growing 12 % Anually:CASBAA

At a time of unprecedented growth for the regional pay-TV market, subscriptions are increasing at about 12% per year for digital cable, satellite, broadband and mobile TV services. This expansion presents a “huge potential for ad sales upside”, according to participants in the CASBAA Convention 2007 in Hong Kong, 30 October – 2 November.

The four-day CASBAA Convention 2007, organised by the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA), attracted well over 1,500 participants, with an increase in paid delegates of almost 25% year-on-year and a similar increase in the number of sponsors.

Themed “It’s all about Content!”, the CASBAA Convention 2007 showcased leading Asia Pacific and global speakers such as Joong Soo Nam, President & CEO of KT Corporation; Dan Glickman, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America; Paul Aiello, CEO of STAR Group; Andy Kaplan, President of International Networks of Sony Pictures Television; Ben Pyne, President, Global Distribution of Disney-ABC Worldwide Television and Disney Media Networks; Bob Zitter, CTO of HBO in the US; Peter Mukerjea, CEO of INX Asia; Tony DaSilva, COO of Sun Direct in India and Jason Krikorian, Co-Founder of Sling Media.

Addressing a core issue for the pay-TV industry, John Tsang, the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Government said, “We have learned from many years of experience that combating piracy requires a public-private partnership. The pirates need to know that we are on their tails and that we are serious about beating them hard.”

Speaking of the prospects for pay-TV and on-line media services in Korea, Joong Soo Nam of KT Corporation said, “Media represents the fastest-growing industry in Korea, expanding at the rate of 10% each year. We are seeing content globalisation, which is happening in Asia, where a common culture is overcoming language barriers.”

Other highlights of the CASBAA Convention 2007 were the CASBAA TV Ad Awards, the ABU/CASBAA/UNICEF Child Rights Award won by Hong Kong broadcaster TVB Jade for its documentary “Children Left Behind” and “In Conversation” sessions with the likes of Paul Aiello of STAR Group and Jason Krikorian, Co-Founder of Sling Media. Mr Krikorian said, “Consumers still like old media and we allow them to bring it to new platforms and extend the content value system. Distributors are thrilled. They are good at going to the living room but not to new media platforms.”

Dan Brody, Strategic Partner Development of Google, explained how YouTube provided opportunities for old media. He said, “Great power comes from media or content owners who interact with their users and brands online.”

The emerging mobile TV market was also another hot topic discussed during the Convention. “In Asia, the mobile phone is often a consumer’s first camera or digital music player, and it may now be their first digital TV,” said Harri Mannisto, Director, Watch New Experiences, Multimedia of Nokia.

According to Jason Rubenstein, Senior Director Entertainment Mobile Devices Business of Motorola, research shows that China is attracting huge interest with 90% of the consumers surveyed expressing their desire for mobile television content.

Meanwhile, the annual Asia Pacific pay-TV piracy survey co-presented by CASBAA and Standard Chartered Bank confirmed that piracy remained a major issue. Losses are conservatively estimated to stand at US$1.54 billion in 2007, as compared to US$1.13 billion in 2006.

At the closing ceremony of the Convention, the CASBAA Chairman’s Award was presented to the CASBAA Executive Office for its long-term contribution to industry growth and development as well as lobbying for regulation over the past 12 months. “This is a tribute to the support of our members,” said Simon Twiston Davies, CEO of CASBAA.

Wrapping up the Convention was the CASBAA Charity Ball in support of UNICEF and sponsored by Turner Broadcasting, themed “A CASBIAN Sea Odyssey”. During the proceeding hosted by Richard Quest of CNN, more than US$50,000 was raised for UNICEF’s work to help children.

“CASBAA is enthusiastic about the encouraging results of this year’s Convention,” said Marcel Fenez, Chairman of CASBAA. “Despite the plague of pay-TV piracy, we foresee more growth for the industry throughout the region as more innovative and high-quality content is created by operators for emerging broadcasting channels.”

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