Asia-Pac pay TV subs up 10% in first half

20% growth predicted for region by end of 2009

LOCARNO, Switzerland -- Pay TV subscriptions in Asia climbed by nearly 10% in the first six months of the year despite the economic slowdown.

According to new data from research house Media Partners Asia the top 40 operators added 5.8 million net subscribers, lifting the regional total to 65.3 million. The company forecasts that by the end of 2009 the total will have hit 70 million, representing nearly 20% growth.

Biggest growth areas were India and China, with Hong Kong and Singapore showing slowing market growth.

"In spite of a 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," said MPA executive director Vivek Couto. "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."

Industry issues on horizon include competitive soccer rights bids in Hong Kong and key Southeast Asian markets in the second half of the year, new satellite platform and new TV channels in Indonesia, and how to secure the investment and revenues to sustain the cable and digital TV growth in India and China.