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Pay-TV service providers march towards rural areas

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Having realized that the increase of the number of subscribers in big cities has been slowing down; pay-TV service providers are considering approaching the rural market.


Statistics show that there are more than 20 million households–TV watchers in Vietnam. Of this amount, only 13.5 percent use pay-TV services, much lower than the regional average level of 40-60 percent. Therefore, experts have every reason to believe that the market has real potential, predicting that more new service providers would join the market in the future.

In early 2012, AVG officially joined the pay-TV market, using digital terrestrial TV and digital TV satellite technologies in the two largest cities, Hanoi and HCM City.

As a new comer, who has to compete fiercely with the “elder brothers”, AVG has to make heavy investment to ensure the high quality of services. The trial broadcasting for one year alone would need 2.5 million dollars.

President of AVG Pham Nhat Vu said that AVG strives to attract 500,000-3 million subscribers after three years. AVG needs one million subscribers to reach the breakeven. To date, AVG has injected 1500 billion dong in the services, hoping that it can break even after 4-5 years at the soonest, or 7-8 years at the latest.

Viettel, a giant in the telecom market, has also jumped into the market. Currently, Viettel is providing IP TV services, but it has not attracted many subscribers due to the specific characteristic of the IPTV technology.

Viettel’s Deputy General Director Duong Van Tinh said at a recent workshop that providing cable TV service would be a new task for Viettel to implement this year. The company has found that the percentage of households using pay-TV services is relatively low in Vietnam, which means that the opportunities for Viettel would be great. 

Analysts believe that Viettel would be a redoubtable rival in the pay-TV market with its broadband fiber transmission infrastructure system reaching out to every commune and ward, which allows it to quickly provide TV services throughout the country.

The potentials of the new land

Though highly appreciating the capability of Viettel, analysts have warned that the giant would meet difficulties in big cities, the market where the “early birds” have been looking for bait for several years already. 

Viettel’s General Director Hoang Anh Xuan said on Thoi bao Vi tinh Saigon that Viettel would have to find flexible business modes, so that even low income earners can also use cable TV services. It is very likely that Viettel would offer different service packages to fit different groups of clients in rural areas. Besides, it is also considering applying many different technologies.

AVG has also been targeting the rural market. It signed a contract with the Vietnam Post Corporation (VNPost), under which VNPost would help develop subscribers, distribute the equipments for receiving TV digital signals and collect fees for AVG. It is obvious that AVG hopes to reach out to different localities in the countries through the VNPost’s network of 16,000 post offices across the country.

Since March 1, AVG has expanded its services to some provinces including Hung Yen, Bac Ninh, Nam Dinh, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Da Nang, Long An, Dong Nai and Binh Duong.

K+, a well known TV brand, has also marched toward the rural market. After a period of providing services, K+ has adjusted the fees of the service packages to lure more users. 

Cao Van Liet, General Director of VSTV, the owner of K+ brand, said that the Access+ package with the monthly fee of 50,000 dong has attracted a lot of clients in small provinces.

Source: TBKTSG

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