CASBAA: offshore media ventures threaten local players

Staff writer
07 Mar 2016

Licensed local pay-TV companies are 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, according to CASBAA.

In a report titled "Same Same But Different,” the industry association said took 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 the United Kingdom and United States.

“Regulators have an incredibly difficult task ahead of them,” said CASBAA chief policy officer John Medeiros. “Root-and-branch reform is needed.”

Medeiros pointed out that “the pay-television industry environment today is radically different from what it was only 5 years ago, and the hard work of adapting policy instruments and practices has only gotten underway in a small number of markets.”

Also, CASBAA noted that a large portion of OTT content delivered to many Asian markets in fact comes from pirate syndicates which operate outside of all legal constraints.

The group observed 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.

CASBAA CEO Christopher Slaughter noted that “these offshore outfits are unburdened by any ethical, legal, or social constraints, and they continue to grow in importance.”

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