More cable TV mergers expected trend in Asia

Economic woes the driving force

BANGKOK — Economic turmoil will force more consolidation of cable TV operators in the Asian region, according to James P Marturato, HBO senior VP of sales and marketing.

He attributed the trend of cable TV operators merging in the region to the reduced spending power of general public. Mergers have already taken place in some Asian countries. The largest was in Thailand when IBC and UTV announced a merger under the new name UBC (United Broadcasting Corps.) and have already started negotiations with suppliers for new licence agreements.

Philippines Merger

In the Philippines, where the number of pay TV operators reached 500, Sky Cable Co. and Sun Cable Co. have merged operations. Some of about 100 operators in Taiwan also began merger talks.

Marturatosaid the consolidations have had an impact on HBO’s sales in the region, but added, “I still believe in the potential of HBO in the region, as our products (Hollywood movies) still command a huge following in the market.”

HBO in Asia

HBO is available in over 20 Asian countries, with a total of 3.2 million paying subscribers, compared to 30 million subscribers worldwide, while its sister Cinemax channel, with difficult to find movies and Asian films, has 2 million paying subscribers in nine Asian countries including Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Nepal Singapore, the Philippines, China, South Korea and Taiwan.

Thailand is the second-largest HBO market in Asia.