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Please find below a recent market report by Ernst & Young on the media and entertainment landscape in the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China. The report provides an overview of the latest indicators of market attractiveness, as well as the opportunities, challenges and critical success factors in conducting business in these four countries.

Executive summary

Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) economies are the future building blocks of the world economy. BRIC economies together account for over 25% of the world’s land coverage, 40% of the world’s population and hold a combined (GDP) of US$8.7 trillion.1 Together, they are among the fastest-emerging economies and will be the growth engines of the global economy.

In this report, we examine the M&E landscape in each of the four countries and provide an overview of the key opportunities, challenges and critical success factors in doing business there.

As companies think through their globalization strategies, we decided to look at some of the important indicators of the market attractiveness for each of the four countries. Market size, growth rates, demographics and penetration of new media platforms are some of the indicators used.

Figure 1 below, indicates that while Brazil and Russia have a high GDP per capita and urbanization rate, India and China score high on population, number of television households and mobile subscribers. This highlights the immense potential that these countries hold and the several opportunities they present.

Figure 1: Performance indicators across BRIC economies

Indicators Brazil Russia India China
GDP (US$ billion) 1,482 1,255 1,243 4,758
GDP growth (% change from 2008) 0.1% -8.5% 6.1% 8.4%
GDP per capita (US$) 10,200 15,200 3,100 6,500
Official language Portuguese Russian Hindi/English Mandarin
Urbanization 86% 73% 29% 43%
Literacy rate 88.6% 99.4% 61% 90.9%
M&E industry size (US$ billions) 17.1 13.9 14.8 50.5
M&E industry growth rate (2005–09) 4.2% 7.7% 8.2% 8.7%
Population (millions) 199 140 1,157 1,339
Median age (years) 28.6 38.4 25.3 34.1
Working population between 15 – 64 years (% of population) 67% 72% 64% 72%
Television household (millions) 53 50 134 174
Internet subscribers (millions 23 21 17 134
Broadband subscribers (millions) 14 9 9 117
Mobile subscribers (millions) 174 204 489 741

Identifying addressable opportunities in BRIC countries


Brazil is the second-largest economy of the BRIC economies (in terms of GDP) with the M&E industry generating revenues of US$17.1 billion. The country has 67% of its population in the working age group.

Brazil, which has been dominated by free broadcast television for a long time is gradually shifting to pay television and other networks. Over the past few years, entry barriers for foreign investors in the Brazilian M&E industry have been reduced. The under-penetrated internet and pay television markets now look very attractive to media companies globally. As television operators in Brazil digitize their networks, various international players may consider entering into technological or strategic alliances. The Government in Brazil is also promoting financial investment in the M&E industry through tax incentives and sector funds, offering loans and direct investments in exchange for equity, in both filmed projects and other M&E opportunities. Also, it is allowing broadcasters and pay television programmers to invest part of their tax money in films and television shows. These changes have opened up Brazil’s audio-visual market for partnerships in several areas, including co-productions.


Russia is the eighth-largest economy in the world with a GDP of US$1.25 trillion in 2009. While Russia’s population declined by 0.47% year-over-year to reach 140 million as of July 2009, it has a growing urban population and a large working population accounting for 72% of the total.

The Government in Russia is planning to create a favorable regime for foreign companies, especially those who will bring in new technologies into the country. The TV and Radio Broadcast Development Program introduced by the Ministry for Communications and Information in November 2007, is expected to bring many new foreign entrants to the Russian market to help the Government to digitize the television and radio networks of the country.

Studies have shown that Russian internet users socialize more than some of the Western Europe countries such as France.6 Digital media presents several opportunities for domestic as well as foreign investors.


The Indian economy is on the path of robust growth. It remains the second-fastest growing major economy in the world after China. The country is headed for a demographic sweet spot. Besides having the second-largest population in the world, it is also the youngest nation among the BRIC economies. India has a large pool of technical and non-technical graduates joining the workforce every year and has the second-largest Englishspeaking population in the world.

As the largest film-producing nation in the world, India holds immense opportunities for foreign players. Many global studios have already entered the Indian film market and partnered with Indian directors to make Indian language films.

India is becoming a hot bed for media content outsourcing — from animated films to special effects, post-production and print media services such as layout design, graphics and data compilation.

India also has a vibrant content market. Global television content producers can localize their content for the Indian market to tap further opportunities.


China is the largest economy of the BRIC economies with a GDP growth rate of 8.4% in 2009. The M&E market generated revenues of US$50.5 billion in 2009, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 7.4%.10 The country has 72.1% of its population in the working age group, a growing urban population (constituting 43% of total population in China in 2008) and is fast becoming a literate population, with 91% literacy rate for those 15 years and older. Economic growth, coupled with a large population, is leading to a growing purchasing power in China, and the youth are driving higher discretionary spending in media-related activities. China is the world’s largest television market with an estimated 160 million television households. It has some of the largest internet and broadband subscriber bases globally with 117 million and 124 million, respectively.

The emergence and proliferation of the new media platforms offer an attractive avenue to foreign companies looking to enter China. For those looking to make money in China’s M&E market, the internet will increasingly dominate. China’s mobile media market is bracing for a new phase of growth too.

The advertising industry, which is experiencing rapid growth, also offers various opportunities for global giants. China currently leads the world in the number of digital displays deployed. All major advertising agencies have a presence in China through joint ventures with local partners. Under the new regulations, foreign-invested advertising enterprises can engage in design, production, publication and some other types of advertising businesses, for both domestic and overseas customers after receiving official approval.

Although there are a number of barriers to success in China, rewards have and will continue to be considerable for companies that manage to navigate its unique environment.


Piracy, foreign direct investment (FDI) restrictions, Government regulations and censorship continue to be the major challenges for the M&E players operating in the BRIC economies.


The M&E industry in Brazil has been extensively regulated by various Government bodies. Cable and other television distribution platforms such as direct to home (DTH) and internet protocol television (IPTV) are subject to different rules. Widespread launch of IPTV is restricted in Brazil, due to telecom regulations, which prohibit fixed-line telephone operators from offering pay television services on their networks.

Music piracy and signal piracy are some of the most common forms of piracy in Brazil. Signal piracy in 2008 corresponded to almost 13% of the legal cable television subscriber base.


The regulatory framework in Russia is restricted. The Government has planned to restrict foreign investment in strategic internet portals and websites, as a national security measure.

While Russia has rapidly adopted new technologies, effective monetization of digital content continues to be a challenge.

Also, Russia’s incumbent broadcasting network operators are facing challenges related to digitizing analog networks and are threatened by entry of new market players, especially telecom operators.

Pay television operators in Russia have relatively poor average revenue per user (ARPU) levels due to the availability of high quality content on the free terrestrial television.


Distribution in India is largely based on analog technology which suffers from lack of addressability and transparency. Rampant piracy is another challenge in the country.

ARPUs are still low compared to the global average, although large and growing volumes make up for it.

Distribution is largely based on analog technology, which suffers from lack of addressability of the subscriber base.

By international standards, India is still very low on personal computer (PC) and broadband penetration.


The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) is responsible for laws, policies and editing specific types of sensitive content for the country’s radio, television and film industries. The M&E market in China has been highly regulated for years. International media companies have faced many difficulties in effectively penetrating the Chinese market.

Unauthorized reproduction of content and price levels have led to skepticism about the ability of companies to make money in China’s digital markets. While local players have been able to adopt creative solutions to produce profits, the challenges for content-based foreign ventures continue to be profound.

Like many other emerging markets, the due diligence processes can pose unique challenges. Investors also need to address the lower transparency, integrity of financial data, revenue recognition and exposure to financial contingencies.

Critical success factors

  • Localize content: To succeed in the BRIC economies, global media companies need to localize their content and be sensitive to local cultures. Content needs to be repurposed to suit the local audiences of these countries.
  • Assessment of pricing and distribution channels: To succeed in the BRIC economies, global companies also need to thoroughly assess the market and distribution channels to price the content appropriately. The price point in a BRIC economy is just a fraction of what consumers would pay in a developed market due to competition, regulations and piracy. However, the huge and fast-growing volumes more than make up for the low prices.
  • Understand the regional nuances within each country: Global media companies should understand that large countries such as Russia, India and China have several internal markets. For example, the M&E market in South India is distinctly different from the North. Therefore, to succeed, global companies need to adopt different strategies for each region as there will be differences in the demand, the type of content desired, the mode of distribution of content and the revenue models employed.
  • Flexible business plans: It is evident that various local media companies are beating the global players in these countries and therefore, need to have flexible business plans. Also, the growth in demand for local content is expected to outpace the growth in supply of local talent, leading to super-inflation, which needs to be factored into the business plans.
  • Financial risk mitigation: Foreign investors should remember that the due diligence process in emerging markets can pose unique challenges. Lack of transparency and concerns over the integrity of financial data can significantly diminish the ability to get a true picture of the financial results. Investors need to understand their exposure to financial contingencies. Identifying key risks and exposures would increase the chances of completing successful transactions in emerging markets.


Economy and demographics

Brazil is the tenth largest economy in the world with its GDP surpassing US$1.5 trillion in 2009. On account of the global economic slowdown, the country’s GDP in 2009 increased by 0.1% year-over-year.

Brazil is the fifth most populous country in the world with approximately 199 million people in 2009, reflecting a yearon- year growth rate of 1.2%. The country is considered to be a relatively young country with a median age of 28.6 years and almost 67% of its people are in the age group of 15–64 years.

Brazil has been able to attain a high level of literacy at approximately 88.6%. It is essentially an urban country with around 86% of the total population living in urban areas.

Key opportunities

  • Internet: Over the past few years, regulatory bodies have reduced the entry barriers for foreign investors in Brazil’s M&E industry. The under-penetrated internet market is an attractive avenue for global M&E companies. Also, the growing usage of PCs in the country is expected to drive the internet demand. The emerging middle-class and changing demographics have also led to an increasing demand for broadband services and digital content.
  • Television: Brazil, which has been dominated by free broadcast television, is gradually shifting to pay television networks. The market provides a wider scope for global television companies to establish their presence. While many global content providers have a presence in Brazil, the large domestic companies have significant advantages due to their strong brands and an understanding of local culture and tastes.
  • Movies and entertainment: The film market has been supported by financial investments made through tax incentive laws. One such initiative is the sector fund managed by the Ministry of Culture, which offers loans and direct investments in exchange for equity in both filmed projects and other companies. Due to a growing younger population, live concerts and sports, especially football, attract very large audiences in Brazil.
  • Digitization: With consumer preferences shifting toward digital media, the television operators in Brazil aredigitizing their networks. This trend is expected to attract various international players entering the market through technological or strategic alliances with the local players.


  • Piracy: There is widespread piracy in Brazil, with more than one billion music tracks downloaded illegally each year. Counterfeit discs account for up to half of all CDs and DVDs sold in the country.

Signal piracy has always been a problem for cable television operators. According to Brazil’s pay television providers syndicate – Sindicato das Empresas de Television por Asinatura (SETA), signal piracy in 2008 corresponded to 13% of the legal cable television subscriber base.

Although piracy is rampant in Brazil, the Government, private companies and associations related to the M&E industry have set several policies, including educational campaigns and police actions against street vendors. The National Anti-Piracy Council (a department within the Ministry of Justice) has joined efforts with the private sector to promote anti-piracy policies. However, it is imperative to strengthen the intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement legislation and take more rigorous action to address piracy issues.

  • Few players dominate the industry: Brazil is a highly concentrated market with a few large players dominatingthe M&E industry. Six family firms control almost 80% of the television networks, and seven out of the top ten magazines across the country are owned by a single group. Also, just two newspaper corporations in the state of Sao Paulo have a tenth of the national market share.14 These companies have significant advantages over foreign companies.
  • Regulatory issues: The M&E industry in Brazil has been extensively regulated by various Government bodies where cable and other television distribution platforms such as DTH and IPTV are subject to different rules. The widespread launch of IPTV is restricted in Brazil, due to a regulation that prohibits fixed-line telecom operators from offering pay television services on their networks. However, as an alternative, operators can offer Video-On-Demand (VoD), which is a byproduct of IPTV.

Over the past few years there have been some regulatory amendments that allow 30% foreign ownership in domestic media companies. Foreign capital participation is permitted up to 100% of the voting capital for Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Systems (MMDS) and DTH providers (through a subsidiary formed under Brazilian laws and with its principal place of business in Brazil), and up to 49% of the voting capital for cable television providers.

Earlier, legislation prohibited pay television operators in Brazil from offering telephony services, but this changed with the deregulation in January 2002, although there are still certain restrictions. Since then, many television companies have entered the telecom sector with broadband or voice services such as VoIP.

Segment analysis

Broadcasting and cable television

  • Free broadcast television dominates: Often known as ”the television country,” Brazil had 53 million televisionhouseholds with a household penetration of 95% in 2009. Free broadcast television remains the dominant media provider in Brazil, reaching a majority of viewers across the country. This segment derives 80% of its revenue from advertisements. The free broadcasting segment is dominated by six privately-owned national broadcast television networks and a Government-owned national public television network.
  • Pay television is on the rise: Twenty years after pay television began in Brazil, it continues to expand, with nearly 6.6 million subscribers in 2009, registering approximately 18% growth over the last year. Over the past few years, the sector has witnessed a huge growth, owing to the importance of triple-play and quadruple-play solutions for pay television customers and operators. Cable television has consistently dominated the pay television market, capturing an average 60% share in the last ten years. DTH with a 33% share and MMDS with a 6% share in the total pay television market are also some of the widely used technologies. In March 2009, cable television had more than four million subscribers, whereas DTH managed about two million customers.
  • New technologies are redefining the market: IPTV and Digital Terrestrial Television (DTTV) are some of the emerging service models in the pay television market, giving tough competition to DTH and cable television services. DTTV was first launched in Sao Paulo in 2007, and by the end of June 2009, there were 200,000 DTTV set-top-boxes in households across 15 cities. Also, the convergence of fixed and mobile voice services along with video over a single broadband connection is booming, as it offers billing solutions and discount packages to customers along with lower operating costs for the suppliers.
  • Soap operas and football are among Brazil’s favorite genres of content: Popular genres differ widely in free broadcast television and pay television market. While soap operas and news channels are the favored ones in the former segment, kids’ channels and sports events (especially football) are preferred in the latter.


  • While newspapers remain stagnant, magazines continue to grow: The print industry in Brazil is estimated to be a market worth US$3.6 billion in 2009, largely dominated by the newspaper segment.21 There are approximately ten million daily newspaper readers with more than 200 publications in the country.22 There are significant numbers of international magazine titles that are sold in Brazil as well.
  • Threat from the internet: In recent times, the print media has witnessed growing competition from the internet.There has been a rapid increase in the migration of readers to internet-based publications. Another trend hitting the market is the entry of low-cost newspapers, which are relatively short and direct (3-4 pages). While a newspaper in Brazil costs somewhere around US$1-2, these low-cost newspapers are available at 25 cents.

Movies and entertainment

  • Increasing foreign partnerships: The movie and entertainment industry, valued at US$2.7 billion in 2009,has been growing at a significant rate over the past few years. After making just two movies in 1991, the domesticfilmmakers completed around 90 productions in 2008, of which about a dozen were partnered with US, Asian, Canadian and European producers.
  • Tax incentive laws are stimulating large-scale productions: The rise in domestic film production in recent years is due to the Government’s decision in the early ‘90s to give the country a new audio-visual policy. The industry now receives annual Government incentives of about US$90 million. Over the past few years, there have been numerous co-production agreements between the local filmmakers and media companies abroad. Audio-visual cooperation agreements with Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and other American countries will, in the next few years, make Brazil one of the most important audio-visual hubs in the South American continent. Apart from financial and marketing advantages, Brazil is slowly building its technical and talent base too.
  • Concerts by international performers are on the rise: Live shows are becoming regular events in Brazil. In 2008, there were 249 shows performed by international stars, almost double the number of such performances in 2007. Currency stability and the country’s increasing youth population, which has an increasing propensity to spend on outdoor entertainment, are key factors for the success of these large-scale concerts.

Radio broadcasting

The radio broadcasting industry in Brazil is still nascent and has been estimated at around US$470 million in 2009. Most advertisements come from the private sector, followed by city halls, federal Government and state administration. Popular genres differ widely on amplitude modulation (AM) and frequency modulation (FM) radios. The AM stations offer a variety of programs, while FM radio stations concentrate on music.

  • Digitization is the way forward: The radio industry in Brazil is on the way to be digitized; the only hurdle beingthe pending decision on the technology to be used. A major revolution took place in 2006-07, when broadcasters formed the “Brazilian Alliance for Digital Radio” to promote and support the deployment of high-definition radio technology.

The issue here is the price and availability of receptors, which can prove to be an obstacle in the radio industry. It is estimated that each company would have to invest US$80,000-120,000 to migrate from the current analog technology. However, radio companies hope that the digital evolution will raise their advertising income and the share of radio in the overall advertising pie.

New media

  • Internet leads the new media story: With a promising economic outlook, rising prosperity and a young population, the demand for mobile, internet and broadband in Brazil is expected to soar. According to a report from a local publication, there are 56 million PCs in use in the country with 100 million anticipated by 2012. The growth in PC sales will be driving the continued growth of broadband demand in Brazil. Also, an emerging middle class in the country, which represents around 40 million consumers, will lead to an increasing demand in the new media segment. The growth of mobile broadband in Brazil has attracted more than four million subscribers to date.

The size of the internet advertising market was US$431.4 million in 2009. Brazil’s youth are keen internet users,especially for social activities. Blogging, online forums and user-generated content are gaining widespread popularity in the country.


New media is growing at significantly higher rates than traditional media. In 2009, there were approximately174 million mobile subscribers, 22.5 million internet and 14 million broadband subscribers, registering a CAGR of 19.2%, 19.5% and 35%, respectively, in the period 2007-09. Most of the traditional media incumbents are forayinginto the internet segment, with leading major M&E companies boosting organic investments and looking out for acquisitions.

Ecommerce has been popular since its inception. Studies by a local research firm stated that retail ecommercetransactions increased by 30% in 2008. Online retail purchases reached US$2.2 billion in the first half of 2009. Lured by the growth prospects, some of the major offline retailers have entered the online space in the lasttwo years.

  • Pricing still an issue: In terms of broadband subscribers, Brazil is the leader in Latin America. Broadband charges in Brazil have been dropping while speeds have been increasing; however, prices are still high for the domestic socio-economic environment. As a result, broadband access is still beyond the reach of the majority of the population in a country that still suffers from a highly unequal income distribution.
  • Government incentives: The Government has been active in developing programs aimed at making broadband access available to the lower income brackets of the population. Government incentives to promote internet uptake in Brazil include low-priced subsidized computers and free internet kiosks.


Economy and demographics

Russia is the ninth largest economy in the world, with a GDP of US$1.3 trillion in 2009. As a result of the global economic downturn, the country’s GDP in 2009 declined by 8.5%.

2008–09 global economic downturn due to falling oil prices and lack of foreign credits that the Russian banks and firms have traditionally relied on. However, in 2010, Russia’s GDP is expected to grow modestly, reflecting that the economy has started recovering from the impact of the financial crisis.

In 2009, Russia’s population also declined by 0.5% year-overyear, to reach 140 million as of July 2009. The country’s population is slowly aging, with the current median age of 38.4 years. Only 15% of the total population falls in the age group of 0–14 years, while approximately 72% of the total population falls in the working age group (15–64 years).

Key opportunities

  • Television: With the ongoing drive towards digitizing the television and radio broadcasting networks in Russia, there is an opportunity for foreign companies to participate.  Introduced in November 2007, aims to digitize Russia’s television and radio broadcasting networks entirely. The move is expected to bring many new foreignentrants in the market to help the Government achieve its goal of digitization.

On the content side, foreign players can partner with local companies to cater to the domestic television market.Genres such as soap operas and cartoons are very popular in Russia.

Meanwhile, Roskomnadzor, the federal body responsible for licensing channels in Russia, has approved the distribution of foreign television channels on the Russian cable networks. At present, various foreign television channels have already received the media registration licenses to broadcast over the domestic cable networks.

  • New media: The emergence of new media is an attractive avenue for foreign companies. With consumer preferences shifting toward online media, there is likely to be a higher demand for online content in Russia. Internet subscribers in Russia are expected to increase from 21.3 million in 2009 to 40.2 million in 2012. Mobile subscribers are expected to increase from 204.3 million to 226.9 million during the same period. Rising broadband usage has also created a demand and market for web-based television content, including news, music and entertainment.
  • Movies and entertainment: A new draft bill that aims to make foreign investments in the movie industry in Russia more attractive, was submitted to the Parliament of the Russian Federation in October 2009. The proposed bill aims to introduce a unified computerized information system to record the number of showings of movies allowable in cinemas. The bill also proposes to increase the share of foreign investment in movie budgets to up to 50% from the previous 30%. Such amendments, if approved, are expected  to make foreign investments in the movie industry more attractive.

M&E market in Russia through licensing arrangements. The trend is expected to be followed by many more foreign companies in the country in the future. Recently, a leading Russian mobile operator has signed an agreement with a US-based film production and distribution company to sell films in Russia via the internet.


  • Low average revenues: M&E companies in Russia have been continuously facing relatively poor ARPU levels in the country’s pay television market. This is primarily due to the availability of high-quality content on the terrestrial television for free. The terrestrial television service offers 20 free-to-air channels in Moscow alone.
  • Plans to restrict FDI for internet companies: The Government is planning to restrict foreign investment instrategic internet portals and websites as a national security measure. The Communications Ministry is in the process of developing a security criteria to determine which companies will be prohibited from seeking foreign investment. In 2008, the Russian anti trust authorities blocked a leading US-based search engine from buying a stake in one of the country’s top internet portals. Consumers and stakeholders have raised concerns that such moves to limit investment will reduce access to information.
  • Incumbents face digitization challenges: Russia’s incumbent broadcasting network operators are facing challenges to digitize analog networks mainly due to the high costs involved in the switchover. At the same time, the incumbents are facing increasing competition from the new entrants, especially telecom operators, who are in a better position to upgrade the broadcasting infrastructure.

The regulatory scenario

Introduced in December 1991, the Law on Mass Media regulates the broadcasting industry in Russia. Under this law, any media organization, either print or broadcast, is required to first register as a divison of mass media.

  • In March 2006, a federal advertising law limited television commercials to 20% of the airtime per hour and 15% per day with advertising time not permitted to exceed four minutes. In 2008, advertising during commercial airtime was further reduced to 15% of the airtime per hour.
  • In April 2008, the Parliament passed the law on FDI in strategic industries. Overall, 42 economic activities are classified as strategic, including the mass media activities (such as television or radio broadcasting and major print media). The law prohibits foreign investors from obtaining control over Russian companies conducting activity in these strategic sectors.
  • The Government is also reviewing a draft proposal that aims to limit the television content and length of advertisements during children’s programs. Television content is limited to exclude violent and other aggressive content.
  • The state provides funding to major television channels that cover signal distribution in Russian towns having populations of less than 200,000. The aim is to expand the reach of terrestrial television services in Russia.

Segment analysis


The market for newspapers and magazines in Russia grew at a CAGR of 6.1% between 2003 and 2008 with newspapers leading the market, accounting for an 84.2% share.

  • Tough competition from online media: Despite printing still being the most commonly used method of mass-producing books, newspapers and magazines, online media is gaining momentum in Russia. This is expected to attract several new players into the market that will bring new technologies to produce and distribute online content to consumers.
  • Impact of the global recession on the segment: Due to the global economic downturn in 2008–09, more than 200 regional mass media and six federal magazines went bankrupt. In January 2009, a majority of publishers reduced their spending by 10%–15% on average, circulations of some publications decreased, free supplements were closed, and various new projects were frozen.About 30%–50% of the bookstores and bookstalls in Russia were closed in 2009, with a considerable contraction in the literature market. Even businesses reduced their advertising spending on print media such as newspapers, magazines and billboards, and channeled their advertising budgets to television and, the internet.

Some publishing houses have been expanding the scope of their operations within the country to overcome the impact of the economy. For example, a Russian tabloid newspaper recently planned to launch a radio station to expand its media market share.

Broadcasting and cable television

  • Free broadcast television dominates: The television broadcasting market in Russia consists of both pay andfree television services. Average daily viewing time for a Russian family of four people is equivalent to 3 hours 30 minutes. Terrestrial television is available for free and is the most popular mode to television viewing. A majority of the population has access to at least one terrestrial television channel. Advertising is the main source of income for terrestrial channels.
  • Cable dominates the pay television market: The pay television market in Russia had 19.3 million households as of January 2009. Cable television contributed 65% to the total pay television market revenues and accounted for 80% of total pay television subscribers in 2008. More than 600 operators offer cable television services in Russia. Satellite pay television services accounted for another 33% of the total pay television market and 19% of the total subscribers, followed by IPTV, which contributed 2% of the total pay television market and accounted for 1% of the subscribers.
  • Digital television is on the rise: Digital television is gaining momentum in the country as the Government is investing in the transition of the existing broadcasting networks to digital. The move is a part of the Ministry for Communications and Information’s TV and Radio Broadcast Development Program, launched in November 2007. The plan entails offering all Russian viewers five to six free-to-air national channels and one regional channel by 2015, using the European Digital Video Broadcasting- Terrestrial (DVB-T) standard. During 2008–15, the investment in digitization by the Government is likely to reach approximately US$14.71 billion.In order to remain competitive, operators are also introducing video-on-demand (VoD) and high-definition television (HDTV) programming broadcasting services in the country.
  • Domestic Russian television companies expanding to other geographies: Domestic companies have been active in spreading their footprint in other geographies. Recently, a leading media company in Russia, in association with a US-based pay television provider, launched a 24-hour family entertainment channel in North America. Additionally, a Russian state television broadcaster has started unencrypted satellite broadcasts in Latin America.

Movies and entertainm

  • Government funding continues: Government funding for the movie industry in Russia is likely to increase by 55% to reach US$163.2 million in 2010. The funding will be used to produce cartoons, children’s movies, fiction and documentaries. The Culture Ministry in Russia will continue to fund movies, including art houses, youth movies and debuts.
  • Increasing licensing arrangements: Foreign companies are entering into the M&E market in Russia by signing licensing agreements with local companies. Recently, a leading Russian mobile operator has signed an agreement with a US-based film production and distribution company to sell films in Russia via the internet. Additionally, a leading US-based M&E company signed an exclusive licensing agreement with a Russian independent music firm, allowing the Russian company to market, manufacture and distribute the US firm’s physical product in the country.

Radio broadcasting

Despite the fact that the radio advertising market in Russia has been posting double-digit growth figures in recent years, the country’s radio advertising revenues are expected to decline in 2009 to reach approximately US$329 million.

The Government is open to foreign participation in order to develop a digital television and radio broadcasting network in Russia. The Government has also approved about US$2.5 billion of federal funding for the development of television and radio broadcasting during 2009-15.

New media

  • Internet gaining momentum: The internet market is growing, primarily dominated by increased broadband and PC penetration. In 2009, internet subscribers in Russia grew by 37.7% over 2007 to reach 21.3 million, with the broadband subscribers growing significantly by 118.9% to 9.1 million. Additionally, with increasing numbers of Russians going online, there is a higher demand for online content that has resulted into the emergence of significant search engines. Foreign companies have also shown interest in the internet market in Russia.
  • Broadband to create demand for web television: Rising broadband usage has also created a demand for web-based interactive television (web television) content, including news, local content, music and entertainment. Web television providers include both traditional terrestrial and cable television broadcasters.
  • Despite increasing mobile phones penetration,messaging and mobile gaming usage is still low:Penetration of mobile phones in Russia has reached thelevel of developed countries. The mobile subscribers inRussia grew by 24.8% from 163.7 million in 2007 to 204.3million in 2009. Despite increasing mobile subscribers,the usage of short message service (SMS) and multimediamessaging service (MMS) in Russia is still lower than thedeveloped countries. Also, there are fewer gamers inRussia as compared to developed countries, while thisnumber is gradually increasing.


Economy and demographics

The Indian economy is on the path of robust growth. Annual growth in GDP during the last three years averaged 7.5%. India’s GDP stood at US$1.2 trillion in 2009. As a result of the global economic downturn, growth in GDP dropped to 6.1% in 2009 from 9% in 2007. However, India remains the second-fastest growing major economy in the world after China.

The country is headed for a demographic sweet pot. Besides having the second-largest population in the world, it is the youngest of the BRIC nations with a median age of 25.3 years. It has the second-largest English-speaking population in the world.

Key opportunities

There is a high potential for investments in all segments of the M&E industry. Most of the global media giants have been in the country for over two decades. Recently, there has been a surge in investments by global companies in the M&E industry in India, especially in the television and films segment.

  • Television: With consumer preferences shifting toward international programming formats, there is an opportunity for global production houses to localize their content for the domestic market. With over 130 million television households, India has a very large appetite for television content. There are several global broadcasters that have been present in India for years and new companies continue to make a foray. There is a growing market for youth-oriented content and regional audiences offer a large opportunity too. Rising affluence levels have directly led to increasing levels of consumption across the smaller towns in India. In 2008, these smaller towns and regional markets constituted more than 70% of the total consumption market of the 100 towns mapped. These towns are growing at a rapid pace, much faster than the metropolitan cities. Therefore, regional markets have been an area of focus for M&E companies.
  • Print: The print media is also witnessing interest from the foreign media majors. Foreign companies are entering into content alliances with Indian companies. Globally, media companies are outsourcing print media services such as layout design, graphics, data compilation and so on, to India, on account of low costs and a qualified English-speaking talent pool.
  • Films: As the largest film-producing nation in the world, India holds immense opportunities for foreign players. With a completely indigenous film content market, many global studios have entered the Indian film industry to co-produce Indian films with Indian talent. It’s not only the studios that are eyeing opportunities in this market, but also Hollywood stars, technicians, directors and producers who are trying to leverage India’s talent pool. Leading global studios outsource animation, visual effects and post-production services to India.
  • New media: India has witnessed an explosive growth in mobile penetration. In 2010, the number of mobilesubscribers is said to have crossed the 500-million mark. Further, the impending launch of third generation (3G) and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) is expected to throw open myriad opportunities in the value-added-services (VAS) segment. In fact, the largest music company in India is now a leading telecom operator, due to ringtones that it sells. The internet and broadband penetration is still limited in India, however.


  • Piracy: The M&E industry has not been able to fully monetize its content due to rampant piracy. A 2008 report by Ernst & Young indicate, the losses to the industry due to piracy are estimated to be US$4 billion per year.58 However, in the last few years, the industry is adopting cost-effective technologies to curb piracy.
  • Inefficiency in distribution: Distribution is largely based on analog technology, which suffers from lack of addressability and transparency. However, the M&E industry is witnessing significant investments in infrastructure. For the most part, these investments have been made in the distribution and delivery segments of multiplexes, digital film distribution, DTH and cable.
  • Low average revenues, although compensated by high volumes: The ARPU is still low compared to global averages. The average ticket price for a movie in India is US$0.5. However, the large and growing volumes make up for it. Sheer volumes make India a lucrative destination in the global arena. With increased corporatization and value creation, the ARPU is set to increase.
  • Low PC penetration and broadband connectivity: A key indicator for technology adoption is the penetration of PCs and internet in the country. By international standards, India still has a very low PC penetration at 3.7% and broadband penetration at 1.5%, as of October 2009.

Overview of the M&E industry in India

The M&E industry in India generated total revenues of US$14.8 billion in 2009. The industry has grown at a CAGR of 8.2% during the period spanning 2005-09. The industry is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 6.6% to reach a value of US$20.4 billion in the next five years.

Segment Market size (US$ billion)
Broadcasting and cable television 5.0
Publishing 4.4
Movies and entertainment 2.5
Radio 0.2

The M&E industry in India is one of the fastest-developing industries in the country, driven by changing consumption patterns, increasing middle-income households and the propensity of consumers to spend on leisure and entertainment.

M&E companies in India are rapidly diversifying beyond their traditional domains to leverage synergies and have a presence across multiple segments of the M&E industry.

Digitization of content and platforms, redefinition of prevalent business models, globalization of the M&E industry and relatively easier access to capital and emergence of multiple entertainment options have been some of the key trends that are shaping the M&E industry in India.

Segment analysis

Broadcasting and cable television

Television, which reaches around 134 million households in the country, forms an integral part of the M&E industry in India. The industry generated US$5 billion in revenues in 2009. The number of cable and satellite television households in India has more than doubled in the last six years. The reach of cable and satellite is expected to touch 100 million households in 2010 from around 90 million in 2009. India is the world’s third-largest cable and satellite market after China and the US.

  • Increase in number of channels: A number of new television channels continue to be added every year acrossgenres such as general entertainment, news and movies. In 2009, as many as 512 television channels, including 249 news channels, were operational.
  • Increasing thrust on subscription revenues: Subscription revenues are expected to increase with the transformation in distribution, increasing addressability of the subscriber base and rapid adoption of digital technologies.
  • Shift in content preferences: Changing consumption preferences and entry of new channels is leading to innovation in content. Television content has moved from soaps to reality formats and game shows. There have been a number of reality shows adapted from popular global formats to suit local tastes. The new formats have helped television companies earn revenues from mobile VAS services such as audience votes. Several regional language television networks have emerged to leverage the potential of the semi-urban markets.
  • High carriage fees: Due to increasing competition, a high carriage fee is being paid by broadcasters. In 2008–09, the carriage fee market was estimated between US$245.9 million and US$307.4 million.
  • Technology advancements transforming the distribution landscape: The increasing adoption of digital distribution platforms like DTH and digital cable is helping television distribution to become more organized. Several large cable multi system operators (MSOs) have emerged. There are as many as six countrywide subscription-based DTH operators in India. From 2.2 million DTH households in 2006–07, the platform currently caters to an estimated 20.5 million subscribers as of December 2009. Another technological move made by MSOs is toward HITS. HITS is a platform to deliver signals directly to the local cable operators (LCOs) through a satellite, unlike cable. This will lead to enormous cost savings and elimination of digital headends across locations.
  • Telecom companies becoming media companies: Leading telecom players are investing significantly in M&E services. In fact, the largest music company in India is a leading telecom operator, due to revenues it earns from ringtones and music.



While in most parts of the world the newspaper industry is losing battle to the digital media, the newspaper industry inIndia is actually growing. The growth is expected to continue, driven by factors such as increase in advertising spends, rise in literacy rates and growth of the regional language newspapers. Newspapers account for almost 90% of the print industry revenues, while the remaining is contributed by magazines.

  • Profitability of newspaper companies is improving: In 2008, the newspaper industry in India was affected bycurtailed ad spends due to the economic slowdown. Despite the challenges witnessed, the newspaper industry shows healthy signs of growth and profitability. The newsprint prices have stabilized and the Government hasexempted customs duty on import of newsprint. The Union Budget also announced the extension of the stimulus package for print media companies.
  • Diversification beyond print: Growth aspirations fueled by capital availability have led publishers to enter into other media and forge partnerships with television channels. Newspaper companies are entering into other businesses, such as internet, radio, television and the movie business.
  • India is becoming a popular destination for media services outsourcing: Globally, media companies are outsourcing print media services such as layout designing, graphics, data compilation and so on, to India, on account of low costs and a qualified English-speaking talent pool.


  • Increase in specialty magazines: The growth in India’s economy has created a demand for content, covering niche segments such as travel, health care, finance and lifestyle. The entry of luxury magazines in the country has helped luxury brands directly reach out to potential customers.
  • Increasing foreign investments in the sector: The Government has granted permission for publishing localeditions of foreign news and current affairs magazines in India. Foreign players can form a partnership with Indian publishers to print the Indian edition of a magazine with up to 100% foreign content. This is likely to provide Indianreaders with foreign magazines at affordable rates. Foreign publishers are entering into licensing agreements with Indian publishers to launch foreign titles in India. Leading US and European publishers have launched titles inIndia. At the same time, Indian magazine companies have begun to release international editions too.

Movies and entertainment

The Indian film industry is the largest in the world, in terms of the number of movies produced annually. More than 1,000 films are produced every year in more than 20 languages. India also has the highest number of theater admissions. In 2008, 3.3 billion tickets were sold for films shown on more than 10,000 theater screens.

  • Revenues dominated by domestic box office: The industry remains dependent on domestic theatrical collections, which generate almost 70% of a film’s total revenue.
  • Rise of multiplexes: The concept of multiplexes has progressively gained prominence across major Indian cities. There are presently more than 800 multiplex theaters in India, and this is expected to grow to 1,500 theaters in the next two to three years.
  • Regional language cinema forms an integral part of India’s film industry: The four South Indian languages of Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam cumulatively account for 60% of all movies produced in India. The South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala account for around half of the country’s operational theater screens.
  • Digitization is leading to reduction in costs and piracy: As the cost of a digital print is only about one-fifth the cost of a conventional film print, the producer can now, for the same cost, reach five times the number of screens as before. Digital cinema enables companies to control exactly where movies are showing and how many times they are shown. It not only enables the release of movies in larger cities, but also in remote town and villages across India.
  • Foreign investments: Many global studios have entered the Indian film market. Large US studios are now producing Indian language films. It’s not only the studios who are eyeing opportunities in this market, but also Hollywood stars, technicians, directors and producers who are trying to leverage India’s talent pool. Leading global studios outsource animation, visual effects and post production services to India.
  • Globalization of the Indian companies: Indian companies are expanding their international footprint by acquiring theater chains and production studios in the US and Europe. Also, Indian companies are now producing Hollywood films.
  • Cricket is the most popular sport in India: After movies, cricket is the most popular form of entertainment for Indians. The recently formed Indian Premier League (IPL) has already become one of the most-valuable sporting brands in the world and is currently valued at US$4 billion, as per industry estimates. Many foreign investors have expressed interest in investing in the IPL franchises.

Radio broadcasting

Revenues from the FM radio segment in India were US$200 million for 2009.

In India, the Government-controlled All India Radio (AIR), together with 37 private FM radio companies that operate nearly 280 FM radio stations, cater to the radio segment. Following the opening of the sector to private players in March 2000, the rollout of Phase-II of the FM radio licensing policy in 2005 provided a further thrust to the sector.

  • Growth impetus through Phase-III FM radio licensing policy: The yet-to-be-announced Phase-III FM radio licensing policy is likely to give further impetus to the FM radio industry and open up the sector for further licenses to almost 700 stations. The policy may also address issues such as raising the FDI limit, which is currently at 20%, allowing multiple licences in a city to a single player and allowing news broadcasts on radio.
  • High royalty costs: The biggest challenge for the radio sector is the issue of royalty fees. It constitutes over 40% of the total costs borne by radio companies and is calculated on rates mandated through litigation over five years ago.

New media

  • Mobile entertainment has strong potential: India has witnessed an explosive growth in mobile penetration. InJanuary 2010, the number of mobile subscribers has crossed the 500-million mark. Further, the impending launch of 3G and WiMAX is expected to throw open a myriad of opportunities in the VAS segment.
  • Internet is still at a nascent stage: The size of the internet advertising market in 2009 stood at US$93 million. There were approximately 16.6 million internet and 9 million broadband subscribers, registering a CAGR of 27% and 73%, respectively, during the period 2007-09. Content producers are packaging new content/repackaging existing content for delivery over the internet. Almost every major M&E player now has a presence on the internet. Although companies still haven’t been able to fully monetize the online content, this segment has potential, as internet and broadband penetration levels increase.


Economy and demographics

China was the third-largest economy in the world with a GDP of US$4.76 trillion in 2009. Despite the global economic downturn, it’s GDP in 2009 grew by 8.4%, as compared to a GDP growth rate of 9% in 2008 and 13% in 2007.

China is the most populous country in the world with 1.3 billion people at the end of July 2009. It is also among the world’s youngest nations with 72.1% of its population in the working age group (15-64 years) and 19.8% of its population aged at 0-14 in 2009. The adult literacy rate in China is approximately 91% for those above 15 years.

Economic growth and the favorable demographics of China make it an attractive market for media-related businesses.

Key opportunities

China is the world’s largest media market in terms of consumer volume, with the highest number of television households (174 million), internet subscribers (384 million) and mobile subscribers (741 million).

  • China set to emerge as a digital giant: While conventional wisdom holds that internet and mobile services in China are more backward than those in the more developed nations, the reality is that China leads the way in its adoption of digital technologies and applications.
    Chinese consumers have emerged as leading users of mobile phones, instant messaging (IM) and internet services, pushing the boundaries of digital activity. In 2009 alone, more than 120 million Chinese started using mobile internet and nearly 100 million became new internet users.
    New media companies have achieved far higher growth than their traditional media rivals and now play a key role in driving media spending in China.
    China’s online advertising market increased 21.2% year-over-year to US$3 billion in 2009.
  • Mobile commerce (mcommerce) — the next wave of opportunity: With increasing mobile internet penetration in China, mcommerce is likely to make a strong influence on business activities and consumer behavior. Mcommerce involves buying and selling of goods and services through mobile phones. As content delivery over wireless devices becomes faster, more secure and scalable, mcommerce is expected to surpass wireline mcommerce as the method of choice for digital commerce transactions. China’s mobile banking is at a nascent stage but holds enormous growth potential. By June 2009, China had 19.2 million mobile payment service users. There were 62.7 million mobile payment transactions made in the first half of 2009, worth US$2.5 billion. 
  • Advent of digital television: China’s digital television market has been increasing rapidly during the past fewyears. From 2006 to 2009, the number of digital television subscribers increased at a compounded rate of 69.2%reaching 62 million in 2009. Services like IPTV, DTTV and interactive television (iTV) expected to play a key role in China’s M&E market. The iTV market has the potential to turn China’s television viewers into onlineparticipants and buyers. iTV allows service providers, content aggregators, advertisers and commercial operators to enhance their offerings and interact with their target customers. iTV offers options such as watching two or more live games simultaneously using split screen, choosing camera angles during live action and instant reports on tournament results.
  • International partnerships for magazine titles: Magazines have been more successful in keeping up with general media growth. Privatization, or at least semi privatization,  has resulted in the magazine sector being relatively less regulated. Local publishers have managed to partner with international companies and results have been strong in lifestyle, leisure, finance and golf publications. With China emerging as one of the largest markets for luxury goods and lifestyle products, the future of magazines looks brighter than it does for newspapers.
  • Flourishing outdoor advertising market: Outdoor advertising is one of the fastest growing advertising markets in China. Rising TV advertising costs have led more marketers to look for the outdoor medium to reach consumers. The market is shifting away from neon and static posters towards light-emitting diode (LED) interfaces. The market is currently recovering from the economic slowdown, with accelerating demand from key ad verticals such as consumer goods, transportation and financial services, resulting in improved pricing in 2010.

There are a number of hurdles in the path to success in China, but rewards have been and will continue to be considerable for companies that manage to navigate its unique environment. Experience shows that with the aid of trusted advisors, determined and resourceful corporations can alter the odds in their favor by understanding the Chinese market. Taking some simple but essential precautions would increase the chances of success and reduce transactional and operational risks.


The M&E industry in China is tightly regulated. Government restrictions on access to certain content deemed sensitive, nationalism, nurturing of domestic companies, strict media regulations for foreign-controlled entities, a desire for further legal and political transparency, certain free market restrictions and intellectual property rights (IPR) issues are the main challenges in China.

Beyond the regulatory challenge, most Chinese new media companies have yet to generate sufficient advertising or subscription revenues to offset their expenditures on hosting and bandwith.

The M&E industry in China has been affected by widespread unauthorized reproduction of content. A great deal of money is being spent on entertainment in China, but a low proportion reaches the intellectual property holder. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) estimates that 99% of China’s music digital downloads are pirated. Low price levels and unauthorized reproduction have led to skepticism about the ability of companies to make money in China’s digital markets.

The regulatory scenario

For many years, the M&E industry in China has been tightly regulated. Since the industry is dominated by state-owned enterprises and has high entry barriers, international media companies have faced many challenges in effectively penetrating the Chinese market.

SARFT is responsible for laws, guidelines and policies for the country’s radio, television and film industry. It is also responsible for restricting access to any materials that might be deemed sensitive to the Chinese Government or cultural standards.

  • Foreign investment in the broadcasting sector: Under the regulations jointly issued by SARFT and the Ministry of Commerce, foreign investors are prohibited from setting up or running news organizations in China. In the case of radio and television, the Chinese partner must hold a controlling stake in the production and distribution. The joint ventures, comprising 49% foreign investment, are required to broadly present Chinese themes in their programs.8While all broadcasters must be state-owned, the Government is also pushing them to become commercially viable. These reforms are expected to change the ownership of M&E enterprises from state-owned to privately/publicly owned.

In August 2005, China issued restrictions, forbidding foreign satellite broadcasters from entering the market in a bid to preserve its culture from diluting. Although foreign programming is restricted, exceptions include:

  • A major cable television operator in Guangdong has permission to carry Hong Kong’s four terrestrial channels.
  • Hotels identified as suitable for international visitors are permitted to operate satellite dishes to receive a full range of television programs.

Cable operators cannot easily acquire a license to own satellite dishes that allow access to foreign transmissions. Most companies in the broadcasting sector tend to practice various forms of editing or avoiding content relating to areas deemed to be sensitive to the Government regulators.


  • Digital cable television subscription fees: In August 2009, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and SARFT jointly announced regulations relating tosubscription fees for digital cable television, a move that will negatively impact the digital cable television operators. The digital cable monthly service fees will be set by the pricing bureaus of regional governing bodies, leaving digital cable television operators with the authority to set prices only in the area of value-added services. Under the policy, digital cable operators will be prohibited from charging installation fees and will be required to provide the first digital cable set-top box and conditional access card for free. Charges related to cancellation, reinstatement and transfer of services will be eliminated and operators will be required to provide subsidized monthly subscription fees to households living below the poverty line.
  • Regulations impacting advertising on television and radio: According to new measures issued by SARFT relating to radio and television advertisement broadcasting, the length of the advertisements during radio and television programs is restricted to no more than 12 minutes per hour for every program, and those appearing from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. are not expected to run over 18 minutes of advertisements in any episode of a television show. These measures became effective on 1 January 2010.
  • Movie and entertainment market is highly regulated: The Government exercises tight controls over the type and number of foreign films released in China and may edit specific types of content deemed to be sensitive that may appear in them. China tries to nurture its domestic film industry by restricting the number of foreign movies allowed into theaters and the lengths of their runs. It allows 20 foreign films a year to be shown on mainland screens, splitting revenue among producers, theaters and local distributors. Those few foreign films compete with a growing number of domestic films, including those co-produced with foreign companies.

Segment analysis

Broadcasting and cable television

  • The world’s largest television market: With an audience of over one billion people, television remains a dominant segment in terms of the audience size, revenues and content. In 2009, there were 174 million cable television households. In China, television is a popular source for news. Guangdong province has the largest number of cable television users. Television accounts for almost half of all media revenues in China.
  • Digitization is the way forward: The value of the digital pay television market in China reached US$12 billion in2009 and is expected to reach US$181.2 billion by 2014. The Government aims to broadcast all television programs in a digital format by 2010 and complete cable television digitization by 2015. A major hurdle to the development of digital television in China has been the lack of compelling content.
  • Pay television is on the rise: China is also becoming a major market for pay television. In 2009, the number of digital cable television subscribers in China reached 62 million. Digital pay television users reached 7.05 million, up 57%.
  • Triple-play model: China’s cable television network is set to play a pivotal role in the M&E market as the triple-play model involving converged delivery of television, telephony and broadband internet services over a single network begin to be delivered over the cable television infrastructure.
  • Emerging platforms: IPTV and DTTV are some of the emerging service models in the pay television market. Though digital cable television gets much of the attention in the converged media environment in China, IPTV and DTTV will play key roles in the future. In China, IPTV subscribers reached 1.9 million, but the growth has dropped from a high of 480% in 2005 to 65% in 2008.
  • New technologies like iTV are redefining the market: China is taking various steps to develop the iTV market, which has the potential to turn China’s television viewers into online participants and buyers. Sporting events are considered to be a major draw for the use of interactive television in China. Based on the estimates of consumer spending on iTV, future iTV business would be valued at US$1.2 billion and the estimated value-added services associated with iTV will be worth an additional US$1.2 billion. However, a major concern is that iTV services are very limited and there is still much to be done in the area of content development.


  • The publishing industry in China, including books, newspaper and magazine publishing, is projected to growfrom US$17.3 billion in 2008 to US$20.7 billion by 2013, indicating a 3.6% growth over the next five years. It is the second-largest segment in China’s M&E market, constituting 35.6% of the industry’s aggregate revenues.
  • Book sales have the highest market share: Book sales generated total revenues of US$8.3 billion in 2008,equivalent to 47.8% of the overall publishing segment. In comparison, sales of magazines generated revenues of US$7.2 billion in 2008. The newspapers market generated total revenues of US$1.7 billion in 2008.
  • International partnerships for magazine titles: Magazines have been more successful in keeping up with general media growth. Privatization, or at least semi privatization, has resulted in the magazine sector being relatively less regulated. Local publishers have managed to partner with international companies and results have been strong in lifestyle, leisure, finance and golf publications. With China emerging as one of the largest markets for luxury goods and lifestyle products, the future of magazines looks brighter than it does for newspapers.
  • Companies are diversifying to capitalize on new media platforms: In 2009, the publishing sector in China was challenged not only by the decline in advertising revenue but also by competition from new media platforms such as the internet and mobile. Traditional print media companies can achieve sustainable growth by providing digital newspapers and magazines through the internet and mobile phones.

Movies and entertainment

  • A relatively fragmented segment: The movie and entertainment segment in China, which was worthUS$ 1.2 billion in 2009, is fragmented. In 2009, a total of 456 films were made in China, up from 262 in 2005, indicating an emerging market in the country. China’s film industry has developed rapidly. During the past year, 626 new screens have been added, taking the total number to 4,723, of which 600 are 3D-enabled screens. Also, the market’s huge potential and lower production costs are expected to drive collaborations between China and the foreign film industries. While blockbuster movies require considerable up-front investments that only large companies can afford, the diversity of audiences in this market means that smaller players can thrive.
  • Movie and entertainment market is highly regulated: China tries to nurture its domestic film industry by restricting the number of foreign movies allowed into theaters and the lengths of their runs. It allows 20 foreign films a year to be shown on mainland screens, splitting revenue among producers, theaters and local distributors.The Government thus exercises tight control over the release of foreign films in the country.

Radio broadcasting

In 2009, China’s radio advertising revenues declined by 3.6% to reach US$800 million. Although, the radio industry faces competition from television and new media, it is still expected to be a popular means of entertainment due to its live coverage of big events, wide signal coverage, low cost, easy access and the popularity of interactive shows.

According to new regulations, effective January 2010, television and radio stations would have to pay to broadcast any copyrighted music. Broadcasters would have two methods by which they can calculate payments for broadcasting copyrighted music: pay a royalty of 0.01% to 0.8% of annual advertising revenue to the copyright holder, or pay a fee based on per minute of airtime. For the fee-based method, radio stations are required to pay US$0.04 per minute for each piece of music aired, while television stations will pay US$0.22 between the years 2010 and 2014 and US$0.29 starting in 2015 for each piece of music aired.

New media

By December 2008, internet usage in China grew at a phenomenal pace reaching 384 million users, surpassing the US to become the world leader. With internet penetration at 28.9% and increasing mobile internet access, the market is expected to see a rapid growth in the coming years, with an average growth of more than 35%.

Online videos

The online video market will continue to be driven by increasing internet penetration. The current challenge facing China’s popular online video platforms is monetization of video content. China’s traditional television business is being disrupted by a youth-driven consumption culture that expects free on-demand entertainment. Furthermore, the development of 3G technology offers new opportunities to online video operators, as people will be far more willing to pay for mobile video services. In addition, the forthcoming online video platform by the state-owned broadcaster will bring further challenges to private operators, due to its strong and mature brand.

Multiplayer online games

The online gaming platform dominates the overall video gaming market in China. The online gaming market in China has seen rapid growth over the last few years, primarily due to the support from the Government. It has made it a policy objective to develop the local online gaming industry and improve its standards. As a result, there are over 500 companies in China that engage in online games operations, which have received support from the Ministry of Culture (MOC) and General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP). The multiplayer online gaming market has also benefitted from advances in communication technologies and improved broadband access. The online gaming operators generate revenues from subscription — monthly or per session, in-game advertising or in-game sales of virtual merchandise.

Mobile media

In 2009, the number of mobile internet users reached 233 million, an increase of more than 100% year-over-year. This rapid growth is attributed to the ongoing national 3G rollout, lower mobile internet fees and continuous efforts made by telecom operators to promote mobile internet services. Currently, there are no dominant players in this market, and there is less influence and control by the Government (as compared to television, radio and print). The internet market is expected to extend its success of traditional internet to the mobile internet segment too.


In the not-so-distant future, Brazil, Russia, India and China could account for much of the global growth in the M&E sector. These emerging entertainment economies should not be considered only as auxiliary markets as they are too large and powerful to ignore. Global companies that do not give their emerging markets strategies sufficient attention and fail to optimize the opportunities in these markets may loseout. In order to succeed in the emerging markets, it is necessary for companies to understand and adapt to the economic and social fabric of the operating environment and invest in content and services tailored for these markets. While M&E companies operating in emerging markets continue to be exposed to risks ranging from local competition, fraud, corruption and piracy, ongoing structural and regulatory reforms and the development of corporate governance norms could mitigate these threats.


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