Piracy takes toll in Asia

Continental survey does not include China

BEIJING — Pay TV piracy cost the Asian biz $1.5 billion in the past 12 months, up from $1.13 billion in 2006, and there are few signs that figure will fall in the near future, according to a survey by the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Assn. of Asia (Casbaa) and Standard Chartered Bank.

The survey does not include China, which remains “uncharted territory for the annual estimates,” Casbaa says.

However, Pakistan’s developing pay TV market is included, where losses stood at $110 million during the period. Estimates for Pakistan show 4.6 million pirated cable TV subscriptions in a market with some 345,000 legitimate pay TV customers.

The cost of pay TV piracy in Hong Kong for 2007 has decreased by 15% to $27.4 million, although the number of hacked connections remained unchanged.

“The fall in the ‘lost revenue’ number is attributed to the reduced cost of a pay TV subscription in Hong Kong thanks to increased competition in the market,” says Casbaa prexy Simon Twiston Davies.

The weak dollar has also had an impact — the 20% realignment of the greenback against the Indian rupee accounted for a large part of the rise in total revenue losses for 2007, Casbaa says.

India’s pay TV revenue leakage reached $985 million in net losses in 2007, up 44% on 2006.

There was good news from Vietnam, where the number of illegal connections to pay TV channels fell dramatically and the value of industry losses fell from $38 million in 2006 to $10 million this year.

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