Hoang Vinh Bao, director of the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information, explained the Government policy on the management and development of pay TV channels in Viet Nam.
There are more than 30 pay TV service providers operating in a majority of cities and provinces in Viet Nam. Some even have two or three service providers. Does that mean the pay TV industry is growing fast?
The types of services that the television market in Viet Nam provides to more than 16 million subscription accounts can be classified into four: cable, satellite, digital terrestrial and mobile TV. The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) understands that pay TV is the future of the market and so it has made recommendations that the Government issues important policies in order to conduct the step-by-step organisation and management of this industry.
These policies have resulted in the industry's fast development over the last 10 years. Pay TV has become an integrated part of our modern society.
However, it seems that the industry's full potential has yet to be exploited. According to 2013 figures, just six of 22 million families have subscribed for pay TV. It has prompted the ministry to design and implement a set of new policies to maintain the industry's growth and stability.
Has there been unfair competition in the pay TV industry?
There are business practices that could result in unfair competition if left unattended. For example, content monopoly without timely intervention will give rise to information monopoly.
As a result, at the end of 2013, the Government approved a development plan for the broadcast industry. The MIC and the government have issued legal documents and policies to maintain a fair and competitive environment in the industry and sustain its development.
What are the objectives that the Government has set for the pay TV industry?
The Government's first priority for the industry is to make information easily accessible to the general public. The industry's development plays an important role in the country's drive for a complete digitalisation of information.
Another objective for the industry is to be able to satisfy the public's demand for entertainment and information. Through development policies, the Government encourages the implementation of the latest technologies to sustain the industry's growth and the formation of large domestic and international corporations.
How strong is the possibility that we will see the pay TV industry restructure itself and form large corporations.
The industry is guided by free-market principles. The Government will not play too much of a role in management. Instead, it will design policies that will effectively protect businesses against unfair competition and stimulate growth.
The Government's policies are aimed at the formation of capable and sizable corporations with the ability to implement the latest technologies and cover large territories. In the past, there were about 60 service providers in the industry. However, due to their small size, they have been merging, and the Government encourages that move.
The Government will encourage and support corporations that invest and operate in less populated areas of the country, especially cable TV service providers.
Policies like the MIC's Decree on Management and Supply of Pay TV that aims to regulate prices are under review as part of the effort to fight monopoly and unfair competition. — VNS