Singapore– The Asia Television Forum & Market (ATF) is now considered the next big market after MIPCOM that sums up the annual television content market. The event attracts the best and the brightest film and TV talent from Southeast Asia and beyond to forge partnerships, exchange ideas, trade content and celebrate creativity and talent. More than 5,000 industry professionals including filmmakers, producers and celebrities from over 60 countries are expected to attend the Asia TV Forum & Market (ATF), ScreenSingapore and the 20th Asian Television Awards – better known as the ‘Emmy Award of Asia’ that recognises excellence in the Asian television industry.
The Asia-Pacific pay-TV subscribers from a total of 46 territories are projected to reach 539.5 million by the end of 2015, penetrating 62.9% of TV households in the region. Multichannel video subscription revenue is estimated to reach $36.2 billion by the end of 2015. Pay-TV sub is estimated to grow to 777.6 million, generating $74.3 billion in video subscription revenue.
According to SNL Kagan, cable remains the most common multichannel platform in the region, accounting for an estimated 75.9% of total subscribers and 64.8% of total revenue by the end of 2015. While cable’s dominance is expected to last, its share of pay-TV subscribers and revenue is projected to decline with each passing year as digital direct-to-home and IPTV operators ramp up. By the end of 2015, DTH and IPTV platforms are anticipated to grab 12.7% and 11.2%, respectively, of Asia-Pacific’s pay-TV customers and 20.0% and 15.1%, respectively, of pay-TV subscription revenue.
IPTV should have more than 60 million subscribers across Asia-Pacific markets by the end of 2015, but is still in nascent stages of development in many territories as telecom providers strive to roll out advanced services over DSL or fiber networks. In terms of customer base, China leads the charge in the region with 39.5 million subscribers estimated for 2015, nearly two-thirds of the region’s total, and China Telecom is by far the largest multichannel operator in the world with 36.8 million IPTV connections. Yet, IPTV services in China are still regarded as an add-on option for fixed-broadband package bundles, with limited content and a lack of advanced features, yielding just $4.15 in monthly subscription ARPU.
Multiscreen TV Everywhere and over-the-top (OTT) initiatives are aggressively pursued by leading pay-TV operators in the Asia-Pacific region. As of August 2015, SNL Kagan survey indicates 26 operators from 13 markets have rolled out TV Everywhere/OTT services, with wide-ranging linear and on-demand content delivered most commonly through PCs, smartphones and tablets. According to Media Partners Asia (MPA) trends, with the exception of Australia, India and the Philippines, pay-TV subscriber additions continue to decelerate in much of Asia-Pacific, though regional penetration remains robust, reaching 61% in 2015.
The bundled broadband and pay-TV proposition has started to bolster subscriber growth with customers often paying for broadband as the primary service with pay-TV as a hard bundle or as a value-add. This is increasingly evident in Indonesia and Thailand.
Fixed broadband adoption has started to grow rapidly from a low base across Southeast Asia and India while mobile broadband is also rapidly scaling up across Asia-Pacific, driven by smartphone usage. Fixed broadband household penetration reached 33% in 2015, while wireless broadband per capita penetration soared to 36%. Pay-TV is increasingly saturated in Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. The focus has shifted in these markets to pricing power and new on-demand services. The subscription enabled OTT proposition (i.e. SVOD) from both Netflix and pay-TV operators/broadcasters has started to gain traction in strong broadband markets such as Australia and Japan, as well as China and Korea, but faces significant barriers in most other markets due to piracy and lack of payment gateways and infrastructure.
In general, most pay-TV operators are experiencing a slowdown in Southeast Asia markets due to macro issues and, in certain cases, market dynamics and structural barriers to growth. The slowdown is occurring at the same time as the growth of low-cost multichannel services (i.e. Astro’s Njoi in Malaysia) and the continued expansion of free satellite services – both organised (i.e. Thailand) and unorganised (Indonesia).
From the tremendous developments in the region, Asia-Pacific media industry has experienced rapid growth and progress over the years, becoming a source and strong contender of creative and innovative content centre. Global media industry professionals now recognise the huge potential in the Asia-Pacific region, and are looking to tap into this burgeoning market.
Television content market such as ATF aims to ride on this potential to strengthen Asia-Pacific’s position as the gateway to the region, and fill the need for a regional media event that brings together Asian content and talent to be enjoyed by viewers from all over the world.
ATF host nation, Singapore itself is the home to over 6,000 media businesses, including international film production and service companies such as August Pictures, Beach House, Double Negative Visual Effects and Lucasfilm which have set up studios locally. Leading media brands such as HBO Asia have also worked with Singapore partners to co-produce TV series Serangoon Road and Grace, while Hollywood blockbusters, Agent 47 and Equals, were shot and produced in parts of Singapore last year, in collaboration with companies and talent based here. International players are increasingly looking to Asia for innovative stories and original content, and ATF aims to create more opportunities for international and Asian media players to meet and explore opportunities for collaboration.