Sunday, April 16, 2006

Manila told Clean Up Pay-TV by CASBAA

Pay-TV policy changes to help Philippines leapfrog other markets

A March 28 released report from Manila by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA)the regional industry body of 110 pay-TV companies said the Philippines' restrictive regulatory guidelines and rampant piracy inhibit domestic and foreign investment in the Philippine pay-TV industry.

The report, “Regulating for Growth: Effective Regulation of the Pay- TV Industry in the Asia-Pacific,” was undertaken by CASBAA in association with research firm Media Partners Asia. The results are based on an assessment of regulatory regimes in 11 Asian markets along with two international benchmarks (the United States and the United Kingdom). Effective regulation was measured by evaluating 10 key aspects of the pay-TV regulatory framework: national regulatory body, copyright protection, level playing fields for convergence and competition, program distribution, rate regulation, program packaging, advertising, content, program supply, and non-domestic investment.

In brief, the report outlined the fact that in the Philippines, to penalize copyright violators with license suspension or revocation has not been effectively applied by industry watchdog, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“It (the NTC) issues cable operating licenses without examining whether programming is misappropriated and resold,” the report indicated.

I would say to CASBAA they are hitting their heads against the proverbial brick wall where the Philippines is concerned. Publicize the weaknesses and shortcomings of the market by all means but unless CASBAA members boycott and blacklist the Philippines in a show of force, their actions to date are only full of hot air.

Among the 11 Asian economies evaluated in the report, the Philippines ranked 9th in terms of pay-TV investment estimated at just US$28.44 million. The reason is clear: programmers are discouraged by the flagrant copyright infringement. Investment in infrastructure and technology is just US$49.25 million.

CASBAA said the report demonstrates a direct relationship between effective regulation and increased investment and sector value using Malaysia which strongly enforces copyright in broadcasting, resulting in high levels of investment in both content $108 million and infrastructure at $167 million.

But amazingly, CASBAA fails to explain that the Malaysian government only permitted a handful of companies in the pro-government camp to have a license. Something the Philippines would find hard to emulate from its postulated freer press and media compared to Malaysia's more controlled environment.

No comments: