The Asia Pacific region has seen pay-TV subscription revenues growing by an average of 33% a year in real terms in the last decade, according to Zenith Optimedia''s latest edition of ''Television in Asia Pacific''.
However, advertising which has grown by an average of 3.5% a year since 1990, is set to remain the dominant source of income for TV, at least until 2010, according to the report which comprises the region''s leading 14 TV markets.
The report also shows that basic, analogue cable is the dominant form of pay-TV in Asia Pacific. Digital television is rare, and digital terrestrial (DTT) is an irrelevant distraction in most markets.
TV ad expenditure reached $30.1 billion in 2000, up from $20.6 billion in 1990, says the report. The global economic downturn caused television ad spend to shrink 0.2% in real terms in 2001 although adspend is expected to return to growth in 2002 and estimated to reach $42.3 billion in 2010.
According to the report subscription revenues are catching up fast, though, as subscription numbers and average revenue per subscriber continue to rise. Asia Pacific households paid an estimated $12.5 billion for pay-TV in 2000, up from just $0.7 billion in 1990. By 2010, subscription revenue could reach $41.1 billion.
The reports says that the Pay-TV penetration is growing rapidly, driven by basic, analogue cable. Between 1990 and 2000, 143 million households in Asia/Pacific signed up for multichannel TV; 125 million of these signed up for analogue cable.
As cable allows governments to exercise more control over their citizens, the medium has proven popular in authoritarian and protectionist countries like China, Singapore and South Korea. And as cable also allows local entrepreneurs to set up small, low-cost systems that supply services even poor households can afford, it has proven popular in India, the Philippines and Taiwan.
Digital technology has so far only taken off in a few markets -- Australia, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand. In most markets the proportion of households able to afford premium services is still too small to build a business around. Although many governments have shown interest in DTT (digital terrestrial television), few have clear strategies on how to develop the medium. The report forecasts 11.4% of home to be digital by the end of 2010, up from only 1% of homes at the end of 2001.