Report details burdens borne by cable, pay-TV operators in region

Economy March 05, 2016 01:00

By THE NATION

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THE REGULATORY bodies in Asia create disadvantages for cable and pay-TV operators while television is moving online and undergoing a comprehensive transformation, according to the latest study by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia.



“Regulators have an incredibly difficult task ahead of them,” CASBAA chief policy officer John Medeiros said recently.

This study on Asian over-the-top (OTT) regulation was titled “Same Same but Different? Video Policies for Asian Pay-TV and OTT”.

CASBAA says the report is the result of a collaboration of highly regarded experts in Asian capitals. It takes an in-depth look at the |regulation of pay-TV and OTT |video in countries and regions |across Asia and Australasia, drawing comparisons with current legislation in Britain and the United States.

“Root-and-branch reform is needed,” Medeiros said, pointing out that the pay-television industry environment today is radically different from what it was only five years ago, and the hard work of adapting policy instruments and practices has only got under way in a small number of markets.

CASBAA also described licensed pay-TV companies facing sharp competition from legal and illegal offshore media ventures, even while their hands are tied behind their backs as a result of heavy burdens from taxes and government mandates on content, advertising, competition and social policy.

CASBAA noted that a large portion of OTT content delivered to many Asian markets came from pirate syndicates that operate outside of all legal constraints.

“This in-depth study provides a detailed view of the state of pay-TV and OTT throughout the region, providing vital insights for anyone looking to enter the local marketplace, |or indeed anyone who simply |wishes to be more informed,” said CASBAA chief executive Christopher Slaughter.

The report provides specific descriptions of each government’s policies affecting OTT television on subjects as diverse as content censorship, advertising limits, copyright protection, and consumer protection.

It observes that many governments are levying burdens on onshore OTT operations while leaving offshore services virtually unregulated. One result of this discrepancy is a big boost for offshore operations providing pirated content. These offshore outfits are unburdened by any ethical, legal, or social constraints, and they continue to grow in importance.

CASBAA also urged that governments review their pay-TV rules and determine whether existing burdens are still required given the evolution of the television market in recent years. It said governments should also seek to stem the growth and proliferation of illegitimate OTT services.