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India loses $1.4bn to pirates as Asia-Pacific pay-TV base grows 12%

India will account for over half the total $2.1 billion lost to the Asia-Pacific region's cable and satellite industry from television signal piracy this year.

The Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Industry (CASBAA) estimates India will register piracy losses of $1.4 billion in 2011 due in part to a lack of market transparency and tolerance of illegal individual connections to cable systems. This is an increase from 2010, when the country's 'grey' market was estimated by CASBAA at US$1.3 billion.

Line tapping is also adversely affecting the smaller markets of Thailand ($261 million), Taiwan ($136 million) and Pakistan ($125 million), according to the industry association.

It is not all doom and gloom for Asia's cable and satellite industry, however. There has been 12% growth in multichannel connections in the past year, with 53% of homes in the Asia-Pacific region now subscribing to pay-TV, says CASBAA.

Indeed, there are now 420 multichannel TV connections across the Asia-Pacific region; more than the sum of those in the rest of the world, according to SNL Kagan.

Furthermore, there has been double digit growth in TV advertising revenues for India, Pakistan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand – according to data from Nielsen.

"As we head towards the close of the year, it's heartening to see multichannel TV in Asia experiencing impressive growth across so many fronts," said Simon Twiston Davies, chief executive, CASBAA.

Although the new data unveiled at the organisation's annual Hong Kong conference refers to the 'traditional' multichannel platforms of cable and satellite, Twiston Davies also alluded to regional growth in the distribution of television by broadband internet and mobile devices.

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