Rampant Piracy, Restrictive Rules Inhibit Investments in Local Pay-TV

Manila Bulletin, March 29, 2006 | Go to article overview

Rampant Piracy, Restrictive Rules Inhibit Investments in Local Pay-TV


Rampant piracy and restrictive regulatory guidelines inhibit domestic and foreign investments in the Philippine pay-TV industry.

These are the findings of a study on the Philippinesa regulatory environment released yesterday by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA), a regional industry body of 110 pay-TV companies.

The report, entitled "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 were 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.

The report revealed that the Philippines continues to have underdeveloped pay-TV markets because of piracy and weak regulatory structures.

However, it held out hope that if pay-TV policy changes are adopted they should help the Philippines to leapfrog other markets and enjoy substantial benefits within a relatively short period.

In the meantime, enforcement of copyright law remains weak; signal piracy by rogue cable TV operators is theoretically a criminal offense but cases brought by the authorities are rare, the report said. It notes that license suspension or revocation as a sanction for copyright violators has not been effectively applied and this can be directly related to the lack of a clear mandate and resources for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

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

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