Report: Half of households will be connected

HONG KONG — Chinese households will account for half of all digital TV connections in Asia within five years, according to “Asia Pacific TV,” a new report by the Informa Telecoms and Media group.

The fast-developing country overtook Japan in 2007 to become the most digitally connected TV nation. Digital household numbers grew from 12.9 million in 2006 to 27.3 million last year, while digital homes in Japan grew from 17.6 million to 19.9 million.

Look forward to 2013, however, and the China total will have soared to 123 million, according to the report, compared with Japan’s 35.7 million. By then India will have overtaken Japan and climbed from 11.7 million at the end of 2007 to 40.8 million.

“China’s sheer size makes it the region’s most eye-catching market, but there has been progress pretty much everywhere. At the end of last year, the region had 75 million homes receiving digital signals,” report author Adam Thomas said. “This is more than 10 times the 2001 figure and paves the way for even greater expansion over the next five years.”

Informa expects the number of digital homes in Asia to be approaching 250 million by 2013.

Pay TV revenues, however, paint a different picture. Japan is forecast to be the most valuable market, worth $14.9 billion (up from $10.6 billion in 2007), while Indian and Chinese markets will rank roughly equal with $8.92 billion and $8.82 billion, respectively.

South Korea, one of the world’s most densely wired countries, is forecast to see its pay TV market grow from $2.87 billion to $4.02 billion.

The Asia-Pacific pay TV market is forecast to be worth $45 billion overall in 2013 compared with a TV advertising market of some $70 billion.

Chinese growth is primarily expected to come from expansion of the digital cable market, from some 26 million homes in 2007 to 102 million in 2013.

IPTV could rise from 1.1 million to 10.3 million, roughly the same size as China’s combined free-to-air digital terrestrial, free-to-air digital satellite and satellite markets in 2013.

India is expected to take a different route, with digital pay satellite services leaping from 4.23 million in 2007 to 24.4 million in 2013. Digital cable could also climb from less than 1 million to 15.2 million.

For Japan, Informa is forecasting a drop in free-to-air satellite and digital terrestrial connections from 12.8 million in 2007 to 9.65 million in 2013 and a strong switch to digital cable from 1.6 million in 2007 to 11.6 million in five years.

For the region as a whole, platform winners will be digital pay satellite (from 16.4 million in 2007 to 50.8 million in 2013), digital cable (from 32.1 million in 2007 to 147 million in 2013) and IPTV (from 3.66 million in 2007 to 22.4 million in 2013).

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