2007 South Asian and South East Asian Convergence Market

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Last updated: 17 Oct 2007 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 137

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the Digital Media and Convergence in South Asia and South East Asia. South Asian countries include:- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. South East Asian countries include:- Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. Subjects covered include:

  • Early convergence activity and regulatory issues;
  • Broadband TV (IPTV) where applicable;
  • Video-on-Demand (VoD);
  • Interactive TV (iTV);
  • Triple play networks;
  • Digital Media developments.

Executive Summary

This Asia market annual report covers the economies in the South Asia and South East Asia sub-regions. It takes an overall look at the Digital Media markets and the phenomenon of Convergence in these markets.

The South Asia countries include: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

The South East Asian countries include: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam.

The highlights in the individual markets of South and South East Asia include:


As the political and social rebuilding of Afghanistan proceeds somewhat fitfully following years of war and civil unrest, the country has started putting a new national telecommunications infrastructure in place. An important step in the rebuilding was the creation of the Ministry of Communications by the Transitional Government in 2002. The big challenge has been to attract and manage foreign investment in the country. There have been some positive signs in this regard, but there remains much work to be done. We have managed to put together some information of the country’s broadcasting sector and what limited information we have has been included. For the country overview, see chapter 2, page 21.


Bangladesh’s television households are served by more than 100 terrestrial broadcasters, two satellite broadcasters and 2,000 cable operators. Cable TV was first introduced in 1993 and experienced double-digit growth throughout the 1990s. The industry began migrating towards the MSOs service with single head-ends. HFC cable had also started to be rolled out with value-added services such as Internet and telephony provided over the cable. The government has been actively considering introducing a Broadcasting Bill to regulate the industry. For the country overview, see chapter 3, page 24.


Cambodia continues to direct a substantial effort towards building up its telecommunications infrastructure. Ongoing political problems in the period since the end of the war made it hard to put the necessary administrative institutions in place. This has had a major impact on the telecom sector which remains in need of serious regulatory reform and a general strengthening of the regulatory role. There are a number of cable television stations in Phnom Penh, including two privately run TV operators, and one joint state and privately-run operator. There are six TV stations (five state-run TVs and one privately run TV) and 19 cable TV stations in the provinces and municipalities. For the country overview, see chapter 5, page 29.


The TV broadcasting industry has been flourishing in India. Since television was first introduced in India in 1959, the country has emerged as one of the largest TV markets in the world. Television is estimated to reach more than 50% of all individuals (urban and rural) in India. In the last decade the television programming landscape has also been totally transformed. Doordarshan, the Indian National Television Network and established in 1959, reaches more than 90% of the country’s population. The type of expansion witnessed in the broadcasting sector over the last decade was expected to continue. Convergence of broadcasting and telecommunications is in its early stages. BSNL launched its first triple-play voice, broadband and TV service in Pune in late 2006. For the country overview, see chapter 6, page 31.


Free to air television has had a substantial impact in Indonesia, with two out of every three households having access to television. The advertising market suffered a major setback as a result of the Asian economic crisis, but has been recovering strongly and sector revenues are on the increase. The pay TV market has not been so fortunate and has generally struggled to build its customers base. This has been partly due to the fact that pay TV is too expensive for the average Indonesian household at a subscription of around US$22 per month. The sector also suffers infrastructure problems. For the country overview, see chapter 7, page 50.


As Laos continues to work to strengthen its economy, its media, in particular – both electronic and print – remains closely controlled by the government. Not surprisingly, television offers some especially serious challenges for the country. The government espouses a strong commitment to the protection of Lao culture and to national security. It is these aims, however, that provide the rationale for tight control of the media, including television. At the same time, the government has been allowing the television industry to grow somewhat haphazardly. This report presents an overview of the Lao television market. There are early signs of convergence with a cable TV operated licensed to offer Internet, but the service has not been launched. For the country overview, see chapter 8, page 63.


With its history of tight censorship laws, Malaysia did not open up the television broadcasting market to private operators until 1995. Despite this, the proportion of Malaysian households that has a television set had risen to almost 90% of all households. There were six FTA TV channels and more than 100 pay TV channels offering a wide range of local and foreign programs in a broad selection of languages. Of particular note has been the recent strong growth of satellite TV operator, Astro. This report reviews the development of the television broadcasting sector, as the market starts to move forward to meet the challenges that new technology is bringing the sector. For the country overview, see chapter 9, page 64.


The Philippines has a vibrant media sector. Ownership has been predominantly private and freedom of the press is guaranteed by the constitution. The first television broadcast was in 1953. There were six FTA nationwide television networks. Cable TV was launched as long ago as 1969, but it has only just started to really grow, substantially boosted by the prospect of bundling broadcasting with Internet, telephony and other services. While DTH satellite TV has been available in the Philippines since 1999, its large scale adoption awaits the entry of a major player - possibly the incumbent PLDT - into the broadcasting market. For the country overview, see chapter 13, page 77.


For some years, Singapore’s TV broadcasting sector has been feeling the push towards convergence. The Ministry of Information and the Arts announced the liberalisation of the media industry in Singapore in 2000, immediately signalling that broadcasting operators could look at the telecommunications sector and telecommunications companies could look at the broadcasting sector. A new regulator for the sector, the Media Development Authority, was set up in 2003. There is no doubt that a slower Singapore economy put some downward pressure on growth in the media sector. This report looks at the changes in the digital media market and the impact on the major players and customers. For the country overview, see chapter 14, page 86.


The TV broadcasting industry in Thailand had to wait a long time for the proposed new broadcasting regulator, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), to be put in place. The government had become seriously bogged down in the process of setting up the regulator, a key element in the Broadcasting Frequencies Act of January 2000. While the country already has a competitive open market, there were numerous issues to be addressed as operators continue to struggle. Issues of convergence with the telecom sector also need attention, involving coordination between the NBC and the National Telecommunication Commission. In early 2007, the government was considering the merging of the country’s telecoms and broadcasting regulators. For the country overview, see chapter 16, page 102.


Vietnam is one of Asia’s most restrictive TV markets, with effectively no cable or satellite TV services available to the general public, and a choice of only three FTA national channels and a single regional channel in most areas. For the country overview, see chapter 18, page 112.

The report also provides some information on the broadcasting markets in Brunei, the Maldives, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste, while the countries of Bhutan and Nepal are not recorded in this market report.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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