OnScreenAsia : CASBAA looks to ‘Unlock Your Networks’

Asia is home to the world's most active TV market, with new players in the industry all aiming to be the centre of attention. In a crowded market with unparalleled potential, subscription TV has reached a global tipping point with virtually boundless opportunities for platforms, channels, technology, and partnerships to connect. This year's CASBAA Convention, to be held on 26 and 27 October in Hong Kong, presents a powerful programme highlighting the critical issues shaping the Asian pay-TV industry. With digital media now centre stage, industry thought leaders from across the globe will discuss strategies for capitalizing on the latest market opportunities for subscription television and advertising revenues in Asia. Asia's buoyant business environment has fostered increasing investment by countries keen to position themselves as the leading Asian media hub. Invited participants in a high-level discussion on the "Media Hub championship" include senior officials from Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, India and Hong Kong. The convention also brings together 16 markets with more than 360 million subscribers to discuss the influence of digital media on the pay-TV industry. With content consumption via traditional broadcast, mobile device, internet and 3D platforms blurring the lines between TV, video and a new viewer experience, the Convention 2010 programme presents a 360-degree review of the business synergies between carriers, advertising agencies, broadcasters and technology providers delivering current and next generation solutions in Asia. The CASBAA Convention 2010 will feature a host of global media leaders including: Henry Tang, Chief Secretary, HKSAR; Gary Wang, CEO, Tudou. com; JS Sarma, Chairman, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI); Tomoyuki Moriizumi, President & CEO, Jupiter Telecommunications; Robert Bakish, President, MTV; Meredith Amdur, Senior Director of Business Incubation, Microsoft Corporation; Nick Brien, Chairman & CEO, McCann Worldgroup; Tanawat Wansom. President, MCOT, Thailand; KVL Narayan Rao, CEO, NDTV Group, India; Andrea Radrizzani, Group CEO, MP & Silva. There will be an extensive range of "In Conversation" sessions, panels and specialist sessions addressing the critical issues of the industry, exploring the next big opportunities in the region and the effects they will have in Asia and rest of the world. The top speakers on hot topics include: • Gary Wang, Founder and CEO of China's leading online video platform Tudou.com will explore opportunities, challenges and implication behind the untapped pay- TV business empowered by 60 million digital homes in China. • Nick Brien, CEO of advertising giant McCann Worldgroup will examine the role of agency in shaping the new advertising world and strategies for leveraging video services as an effective advertising platform. • Robert M Bakish, President of global TV brand MTV Networks International, who operates over 170 entertainment channels worldwide, will deliver a visionary address on the company's key success factors. • JS Sarma, Chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), governing the broadcasting and telecommunications policy, will participate in "HARDtalk" session with Mishal Husain, BBC World News, discussing the rationale behind India's rise to world's most dynamic pay- TV over the past five years. • Andrea Radrizzani, Group CEO of sports marketing agency MP & Silva will assess the role sports content plays in boosting pay-TV profits. • KVL Narayan Rao, Group CEO & Executive Director of India's leading news content provider NDTV will share his strategic tips for capturing audiences in the highly competitive TV news sector. • Tanawat Wansom, President of MCOT in Thailand will detail how the Thai TV market is shaping up, given that the local satellite and cable TV landscape has been experiencing dramatic change. Programme highlights also include sessions such as "Who's Playing Away", which focuses on sports television as a key driver for subscription TV. The talk brings together a panel of experts to explore the options for subscribers and changing viewer consumption of sports programming. New corporate members Reflecting the continued growth of Asia's subscription TV market, CASBAA has added two new corporate members this month. Following four new memberships in July, CASBAA has welcomed another leading Indian telecomto- media industry player, Reliance Communications, part of Reliance ADAG, as well as fashion and entertainment content specialist FashionOne TV. Reliance Communications, with a customer base of over 117 million mobile subscribers, is ranked among the top five telecom companies in the world. Reliance ADAG is also a DTH operator and has business interests in broadcasting, cable TV distribution and film production. "The CASBAA Board of Directors believe the participation in the association of such Indian companies as Reliance fits perfectly with a global outlook. Reliance's membership is also an endorsement of CASBAA's growing relevance in India," said Simon Twiston Davies, CEO of CASBAA. Sanjay Behl, CEO-DTV & IPTV at Reliance Communications said, "We look forward to collaborating with leading global players to address relevant issues and to meaningfully engage with policy makers to catapult media broadcasting, distribution & subscription TV industry to its next level." CASBAA, meanwhile, also extended a warm welcome to USbased FashionOne TV, a division of integrated entertainment company Bigfoot Entertainment with new studio facilities in Cebu in the Philippines distributing fashion and entertainment news around the world via three satellites. "With our commitment to the world's fastest-growing region, we are pleased to be a part of Asia's leading association for the subscription TV industry," said Eric Klein, CEO of FashionOne TV. "We look forward to new opportunities and to fostering long-term relationships with likeminded partners." CASBAA Patron members include AETN International, Al Jazeera, Arianespace, Asia Broadcast Satellite, AsiaSat, ASTRO, Australia Network, BBC Worldwide Channels Asia, Bloomberg Television, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, Disney Media Distribution, Fox International Channels, HBO Asia, Intelsat, Irdeto, ITV Global Entertainment, Macquarie Group, MTV Networks Asia, NDS, NOW TV, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SES World Skies, SingTel, Sony Pictures Television, Tiger Gate Entertainment, TrueVisions, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, Universal Networks International and Verimatrix. Issues with pay-TV fine tuning In response to the latest proposals by the Media Development Authority (MDA) of Singapore, the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA), reiterated that the new regulations remain contrary to the interests of Singapore's pay-TV subscribers and the industry at large. According to CASBAA, incentives for content innovation will be suppressed, with particular damage to the business of producing or acquiring "marquee pay-TV programming, which by its nature is expensive to produce or acquire." The regional industry body said the new rules for the mandatory supply of content to all Singaporean pay-TV operators will "necessitate sustained regulatory micro-management of the pay-TV market exacerbated by interference with intellectual property rights." Constant regulatory fine tuning can be expected with significantly enlarged state interventions, said CASBAA, which urged the Government of Singapore to revoke changes in the Media Conduct Code that impose the "Cross-carriage system". CASBAA, which represents the pay-TV industry across 16 Asian markets, said the proposed regulations are damaging to Singapore's hard-won role as a regional content hub. "If implemented as they stand, the new rules would undercut the attractiveness of Singapore as a destination for media investment and impair employment and economic growth." Drawing on advice from global trade and intellectual property rights specialists Greenberg Traurig, which represents the International Intellectual Property Association in Washington, CASBAA concluded that the new rules remain inconsistent with Singapore's international treaty obligations. "Content owners, who have used Singapore as a regional base for more than 15 years, consider the new rules very harmful to the country's reputation for protecting intellectual property rights holders," said Simon Twiston Davies, CASBAA CEO. Speaking from its regional perspective, CASBAA noted that many Asian markets are seeing substantial increases in domestic content production for pay-TV. While damaging to the interests of Singapore, if the new rules were replicated in these other markets in Asia, they would do infinitely more damage to their young industries. "The useful stimulus to domestic production coming from growing pay-TV could be irreparably undermined," said Twiston Davies, adding, "These are regulations that will not work for Singapore and would be even more destructive in other jurisdictions."
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