Asia’s top 40 pay-TV operators added 5.8 million net new subscribers between them during the first six months of 2009, according to Media Partners Asia (MPA).
The new subscriptions take the combined customer base of Asia’s top 40 operators to 65.3 million, around a third of the region’s installed pay-TV base. Leading operators are expected to end the year with an estimated 70.7 million customers, implying annual net additions of 11.3 million and close to 20% annual growth.
Vivek Couto, executive director of MPA commented that despite the “recessionary macro environment, the demand for pay-TV remains robust in Asia Pacific and in certain instances, ARPUs along with profits are also growing healthily”.
“Pay-TV, especially when anchored to digital upgrade, competition and next-generation broadband digital services, is proving itself as a sustainable proxy for consumption and investment,” Couto stated.
The report identifies China and India as key growth regions, where cable and DTH have led the way. Excluding China and India, pay-TV subscribers for the leading operators in the region are expected to grow at less than 8% this year.
According to the report, subscriber and ARPU growth has softened in Singapore and Hong Kong while churn has risen in Indonesia. However, customer additions remain solid for the most part in Thailand, Malaysia and Australia. The growth of fibre-based IPTV services, meanwhile, is providing a boost to the saturated Japanese market.
The report also added that more than 70% of the 40 operators’ user base had been upgraded to digital TV (DTV) by the end of June. This has largely been driven by momentum in China, Australia, Japan and Korea, and a recent cable DTV relaunch in Taiwan.
According to MPA, the total DTV installed base for the 40 surveyed operators will reach over 54 million by end-2009, more than 75% of total pay-TV subscribers and close to 50% market share in DTV pay-TV across Asia.