Pay TV Channels

Local content: how channel localization varies significantly across markets

North America, Asia Pacific and Europe are the hubs for local channel activity, assessment of availability of local and international channel brands on pay TV platforms reveals. The market with the greatest focus on local channels is North America. 73% of all North American channels on pay TV operators are of local origin. Asia Pacific and European countries also have high levels of localisation, with between 40%-60% of channels owned by local groups. By contrast, markets in Africa, South America and Central and Eastern Europe are all dominated by international-origin channels. 

For several regions however, there is a lack of regional uniformity, with some countries offering very high numbers of local channel brands, and others having far lower levels. Within Western Europe, for example, operators in markets such as Italy and the UK have highly localized channel portfolios, with around 65% of channels originating in-market - whereas in France and Spain, international channels are prevalent, with around 40% of channels local. The same is also true of Eastern Europe. Russia and Turkey are highly local markets for channel brands, but Central European markets such as Poland and Romania are more international. In Asia Pacific, the same is true. China, India, South Korea and Japan profile as far more localised than most South-East Asian markets.

The factors determining the degree to which pay TV channel portfolios are locally-sourced are varied. One major factor is total pay TV market size and competitiveness, as greater revenue (and competition) enables support for a wider range of tailored, local channels. Another important factor is the degree to which pay TV services are pan-regional, and the extent of shared cultural regional heritage. This is particularly relevant in the Middle East and in Sub-Saharan Africa—where many pay TV services are pan-regional, and therefore a lot of "local" market content still exists, but operates more on a regional level, as opposed to being tailored for one specific country. Finally, the international reach of a local language also forms a major part of a country—for example, in France there are a wide number of channels from French-speaking African markets, while in Spain a large number of Latin American channels are available.