Following a period of confusion after new pay-TV regulations came into force in Vietnam last May, the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) has described the country’s pay-TV market as “vastly improved”, with most international TV channels now restored.
John Medeiros, CASBAA’s chief policy officer, said: “After the initial period of confusion, the Vietnamese government made clear that it did not want to see foreign TV channels (and specifically not the international news channels) dropped from the country’s pay-TV systems. This positive and welcome intervention from the top levels of the government has made a real difference.”
Medeiros adds that the translation requirement for live news channels has been removed, and he believes that remaining difficulties affecting international news channels are now being ironed out in negotiations between them and their distribution partners.
A number of provisions from the pay-TV regulations remain to be implemented, according to Medeiros, who added: “Going forward, it will be important to make sure that the government’s positive policy is consistently carried out by all ministries and agencies (and is not reversed in the future), especially since a number of core international channels are still awaiting licences.”
Vietnam currently has a small but rapidly-growing pay-TV industry, with around 5mn subscribers and household penetration at 26% by the end of 2012, according to research by Informa Telecoms & Media (publisher of IP&TV News).
Informa currently predicts that a combination of strong economic growth, the launch of new platforms and ongoing expansion of IPTV will provide favourable conditions for Vietnam’s pay-TV sector to grow in the coming years.