Asia suffers $1.3b in losses due to cable piracy-study

03 Nov 2006

Pay TV piracy has cost Asia a whopping $1.13 billion so far this year, 6% up on 2005, according to a study by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) and Standard Chartered Bank.

The number of illegal subscriptions in the region rose 20% to 5.2 million connections.

The worst offender was India, with $685 million in losses to the industry.

Part of the problem lies with the thousands of different companies owning the last mile of cable pipes not declaring their full income.

Thailand saw the second highest loss with $160 million.

The country is a 'regulatory vacuum' with no regulators helping with the piracy problem, says Lee Beasley, director of media and entertainment of the creative industries group at Standard Chartered.

Losses in Hong Kong jumped 29% with pirated cable connections and illegal set top boxes from China part of the problem.

The rise in piracy can partly be attributed to a spike in illegal connections for soccer World Cup action in the summer.

On the positive side, the number of pirated connections in Singapore fell from 9,500 to 6,900, giving back the industry nearly half a million dollars compared with the previous year.

The Philippines also saw a cut in illegal individual connections, however its net piracy cost from illegal distributors rose 24%.

While piracy is a clear loss to the industry, regional government also suffered with at least $158 million lost in annual taxes, according to the study.

The survey, the fourth conducted since 2002, covered Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, as well as Australia and Macau, which were added this year.

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