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WBD largest broadcaster in Asia-Pacific region after merger

American-based media firms represent the largest broadcasters in the territory, analysts with Dataxis said.

American-based media firms represent the largest broadcasters in the territory, analysts with Dataxis said.

A merger between AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Discovery Networks last year resulted in the combined Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) becoming the biggest provider of free-to-air and pay television networks in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a new study.

This week, market research firm Dataxis said WBD provides 35 broadcast and pay TV networks in southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand — more than the Walt Disney Company, True Corporation and VTV Group.

More than 550 companies operate TV channels in the region, where competition among broadcasters for traditional TV viewers is particularly intense. The top 15 media firms operate around one-fourth of the total TV networks available on free and pay TV platforms, Dataxis reported.

While WBD might have a hold on the region, it doesn’t necessarily mean viewers have access to all, or even some, of its channels in every country measured. Some broadcasters like WBD, Disney, Paramount Global and Foxtel concentrate their efforts on just a few territories; True Corporation, which operates the third-largest amount of TV channels in the region, only broadcasts in Thailand.

“While regional players such as CCTV, NHK, Zee Entertainment, or Rewind Network rank high in regional distribution, most of the top players are U.S.-based,” Thibault Giry, a senior analyst at Dataxis, wrote in the report.

In Southeast Asia, WBD offers a number of pay television channels that are regional offshoots of its U.S.-based networks. Those channels include Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Cinemax, Food Network and local versions of CNN.

Most of the company’s efforts are focused on Australia and New Zealand, where WBD distributes a total of 16 channels (a version of Bravo that broadcasts in New Zealand is co-owned with Comcast’s NBC Universal). It also programs four channels that are exclusive to New Zealand: Three Network, Eden, Living and Rush.

While broadcast is still a big play for domestic and foreign media operators in the region, TV viewers are turning to streaming options for entertainment, live news and sports, mirroring trends that are happening in the United States and other parts of the world.

“With an acceleration of the mergers and acquisitions, and the growing momentum of [streaming services], the competition for TV dominance in Asia-Pacific among international broadcasters is now at its peak,” Giry said.

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Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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