Warner Bros. Discovery now the largest broadcaster in Asia-Pacific with 35 channels

The new entity born from the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery Networks last year became de facto the largest broadcaster in Asia-Pacific, with 35 channels, overcoming its three main competitors: Disney, True Corp, and VTV Group.

With an acceleration of the mergers and acquisitions, and the growing momentum of OTT, the competition for TV dominance in Asia-Pacific among international broadcasters is now at its peak.

A Pay TV area mainly, with local disparities

While being a relatively mature TV market, with TV penetration among households higher than 90% within the countries covered, TV distribution in Asia-Pacific also mainly relies on Pay TV channels. Among the more than 1,200 TV channels available in the region, less than 15% are free-to-air, with some markets being exclusively Pay TV, such as Maldives or Mongolia, while New Zealand and Sri Lanka, on the other hand, have the highest availability rate of free TV, with 25% of channels.

A strong dominance of US media giants among the regional distribution

Highly diversified, with more than 550 groups operating TV channels, the area remains very competitive, as the top 15 groups gather less than a quarter of the TV channels available in the region.

But the highest number of channels available does not necessarily translate into the widest regional availability, as some of these groups heavily focus on their domestic market.

True Corp for instance operates more than 30 TV channels in Thailand, hence accounting for more than 20% of the TV offer in the country, but provides very little coverage abroad, besides Cambodia.

While regional players such as CCTV, NHK, Zee Entertainment, or Rewind Network rank high in regional distribution, most of the top players are US-based.

If regional broadcasters are widely available as they provide the generic entertainment and news content to their diasporas within Asia-Pacific, these US-based groups, such as Warner Bros.-Discovery, Paramount, NBC Universal or Walt Disney Company, have managed to expand their reach among TV packages, both by acquiring local or regional broadcasters (such as Star in India for Disney or Mediaworks in New Zealand for Discovery), and by providing a significant share of the premium entertainment content available within Pay TV bouquets, and aggregating a growing number of sports rights.

Hence, within the 10 groups most distributed in the region in 2022, both in terms of channels available and countries covered, 6 were US-based.

Two main profiles of content offers in Asia-Pacific region

Going deeper into the content offers provided in the region, two main country profiles emerge.

Overall, customers in Asia-Pacific are given a lot of room when it comes to building their content mix, both in terms of generic packages and in terms of add-ons available.

Due to the high diversity of diasporas living in the majority of the countries covered in the area, most of the Pay TV operators provide extensive amounts of essential packs, bundles, and add-ons with specific entertainment, sport, or cultural content to fit customers’ demands. As an example, among the 75 different Pay TV packs and bundles provided by Singtel across its OTT and IPTV accesses, 50 are focusing specifically on Korean, Malaysian, Indian, Philippine, Japanese, or Chinese content. If this diversity is expected in a country where numerous communities coexist, this trend is also shared in other countries.

But while in some countries Pay TV operators tend to provide whopping amounts of small bundles dedicated to sports, entertainment, or international content, such as Sri Lanka, Philippines, or Singapore, in other countries Pay TV operators tend to rely on denser, more expensive, and extensive generic packages, with a lower room for customization, such as Maldives, Myanmar, Mongolia or Cambodia.

The Asia-Pacific region is now available within the TV package and channel reach module. This module includes the reach of each single TV channel by country, across Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Thibault Giry | Senior Analyst at Dataxis

This research highlight is based on our data coverage of TV broadcasters and TV Distribution in Asia. Please contact us to get a demo and see the depth of our service.

Interested in this topic ? Discover the recording of the panel Innovation in content distribution, that took place during the event Nextv Series South East Asia 2022.

Published on: Tuesday, 06 June, 2023

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