Asia to lead digital satellite TV growth

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Asia to lead digital satellite TV growth

Analysts expect $88bn in revenues within four years.

New digital satellite TV subscribers in Asia will help the market generate more than $88bn in revenues worldwide by 2010, according to forecasts.

Subscriber growth in mature markets is slowing, say analysts from US-based research firm In-Stat. 

"As direct-to-home [DTH] pay-TV platforms in many American and European countries have been in operation for a number of years, subscriber growth has slowed," said In-Stat research analyst Michael Inouye.

"Total net new subscribers are growing each year, but only by single digit percentages."

The satellite TV business is increasingly looking to Asia for growth, where newly-affluent consumers are expected to boost the number of paying digital satellite TV viewers to more than 117 million by 2010.

"Most DTH platform launches in 2006 occurred in the less mature markets, including India and Eastern Europe," said Inouye.

Next year's Olympic Games in China are expected to help boost satellite TV take up among consumers.

But plans for a rapid expansion of digital satellite broadcasts in China itself, the world's largest single market at 1.3 billion people, suffered a setback last November with the loss of the Sinosat-2 satellite.

The sophisticated satellite had been heralded as a means to bring direct TV broadcasts and broadband internet links to China's vast rural hinterland.

But the five-ton craft is drifting helplessly in the wrong orbit, following multiple failures in its solar power generation systems. A replacement will take three years to build and launch, Chinese officials told local media.

Potential satellite TV subscribers in China may also have their enthusiasm dampened by fines of several years' salary for unlicensed satellite dishes, according to the China Daily.
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