CASBAA: OTT promises boon, piracy still bane

Staff writer
Future TV Asia

The traditional linear TV market is still dominant in the Asia-Pacific region, but there is tremendous business potential in tapping into OTT (over-the-top) services, according to CASBAA.

While linear TV will be the driving force for some time, the regional association for digital multichannel TV, advertising and video delivery said the Asian OTT market is expected to reach $8 billion by 2020, up from $3 billion today.

However, financial analyst company SNL Kagan noted that while free-to-air broadcasters and pay-TV providers are leveraging OTT services, discrepancies between markets in the region are phenomenal.

“As a result, OTT in some markets will have a much longer trajectory than in more developed markets,” said Zhao Wangxing, associate research analyst at SNL Kagan.

Matt Pollins, media lawyer at Olswang Asia, pointed to a huge problem in monetizing OTT services, especially since turning to pirated content is becoming the de facto viewing habit for a generation of users.

“In many Asian markets, there are services flagrantly infringing copyright in broad daylight without any real risk of enforcement,” Pollins warned.

Industry experts have attributed the growth of OTT services to higher uptake of broadband services in Asia.

According to CASBAA, household penetration of fixed broadband services in the region currently stands at 35%, while mobile 3G and 4G broadband subscriptions have hit 866 million, a figure that will approach 2 billion in just five years.

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