Asia-Pacific pay-TV networks owned by global media groups saw revenue and profit gains in 2017, largely driven by growth in India, according to new research from Media Partners Asia (MPA).
Asian revenues for pay-TV channel groups owned by global media companies grew by 4 percent to reach about $5 billion last year, with EBITDA increasing by 9 percent to hit about $1 billion, MPA reports.
For 21st Century Fox, Sony Pictures Television Networks and Viacom, strong local businesses in India helped power gains. India contributed 65 percent of revenues for regional pay-TV channels last year, with 15 percent coming from Southeast Asia, 7 percent from Japan and 5 percent from Australia. Just 1 percent of revenues came from Korea.
Excluding local channel businesses in India, revenues for pan-Asian broadcasters fell by 1 percent to $2.2 billion, with EBITDA down 4 percent to $560 million. In this segment, Southeast Asia is the strongest contributor (33 percent), followed by India (20 percent), Japan (16 percent), Australasia (11 percent) and Hong Kong and Taiwan (11 percent).
By genre, sports was the only one to see a boost, thanks in part to the growth of beIN Media. Excluding India, factual, lifestyle, kids, news, music, movie and Asian entertainment channels experienced an aggregate contraction of almost $150 million in affiliate and advertising sales.
Global broadcasters in Asia are also seeing revenue gains from licensing deals and strategic alliances with online and telco platforms, consumer products and online video advertising. MPA sees pan-regional platforms backed by global media groups accelerating their own OTT initiatives, as well as focusing more on local content. “Key players are slowly responding with investment in premium Asian content as well as local deals in Korea, Japan and parts of Southeast Asia,” MPA says.
In India, MPA notes that macroeconomic challenges, stiff competition and regulatory hurdles will impact the near-term gains for foreign-owned pay-TV networks. However, major players are still expected to see double-digit growth. Longer term they will also benefit from branded online video networks.
“Success in a large-scale market such as India shows that regional broadcasters that invest in IP and local businesses can create a lot of long-term value,” said Vivek Couto, executive director and co-founder of MPA. “These bets are starting to percolate across Southeast Asia, Korea and Japan. At the same time, businesses are starting to tap more growth from streaming platforms, including partnerships with online video and telco services.”