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APAC region to add 440mn digital TV homes over next five years

Asia Pacific is undergoing a digital TV boom that will see penetration increase from 36% in 2011 to 83% in 2017, with around 440mn new homes added to digital TV services, according to a new report from UK firm Digital TV Research.

China alone is expected to provide 268mn of these additional digital TV homes, with India adding a further 82mn. These two countries are described as having a “massive” influence over the region, due mainly to their 1 billion-plus populations. By 2017, they are expected to provide 541mn digital TV homes combined or three-quarters of Asia Pacific’s total.

Of the 440mn digital TV homes to be added over the next five years, 103mn are predicted to come from DTT. Digital cable will contribute a further 195mn, with pay DTH supplying 34mn more and pay IPTV 86mn. By contrast, the region will lose 152mn analogue cable homes and 196mn analogue terrestrial ones.

“Despite the rapid conversion, digital TV will still have plenty of room for growth for some time to come,” said Simon Murray, author of the report and founder of Digital TV Research. “Only half of the countries covered in this report will have fully converted to digital by 2017. By then, Indonesia and the Philippines will still have analogue penetration of 70% and 64% respectively. China will have 24mn analogue homes and India 57mn.”

Pay-TV penetration is predicted to rise from 53% in 2011 to 67% in 2017, adding 165mn subs to take the total to 569mn. China will provide 315mn pay TV households, with India supplying a further 145mn.

However, pay TV penetration will be higher in South Korea (93%) and Singapore (90%), according to the report. Legitimate pay-TV penetration will be lowest in Indonesia (23%), with the Philippines the next lowest at 27%. Piracy is described as remaining a serious problem.

Pay-TV revenues in Asia Pacific are projected to increase by US$ 11.7bn over the next five years to reach US$ 40.7bn. Japan will remain market leader in 2017 with US$ 10.6bn, followed by China with US$ 9.7bn and India with US$ 7.1bn. However, pay-TV revenues are expected to remain flat in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.

Cable TV will remain the highest earner, with revenues at US$ 23.6bn by 2017. Digital cable TV revenues will climb by 137% between 2011 and 2017 to reach US$ 21.2bn, with analogue cable TV falling from US$ 11.4bn to US$ 2.3bn. There will be 383mn cable homes by 2017, up only 44mn from 339mn at end-2011. Cable penetration will be 44.7% by 2017, almost unchanged from 44.4% at end-2011.

However, the good news for cable operators is that the number of digital subs is predicted to nearly triple over the same period to nearly 332mn, though the analogue total will fall to a quarter of its 2011 total. Although the number is falling rapidly, there will still be 51mn analogue cable subs (6% of TV households) by 2017.

The number of homes paying for IPTV is predicted to reach 110mn by 2017 – or 12.8% of TV households. China will contribute 77mn IPTV subs (or 70% of the region’s total) by 2017. IPTV subs will overtake pay DTH ones in 2013. About 34mn pay DTH homes will be added between 2011 and 2017, taking the total to 76mn.

Primary DTT households (homes not subscribing to cable, DTH or IPTV but taking DTT) will rocket from 30mn (4% penetration) at end-2011 to 133mn (15.5%) by 2017, according to Digital TV Research. China will provide 84mn of the 2017 total, followed by Japan with 10mn and with India 9mn.

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