VietNamNet Bridge – The pay TV market is showing signs of a monopoly that disadvantages customers.
A Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) competition appraisal report shows that the Vietnam Television (VTV), with its diverse VTV channels, is holding a 65 per cent pay TV market share. Of this, SCTV has 32 per cent, VCTV 19 per cent and HTVC 14 per cent.
Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) figures show that VTV is controlling three million subscribers out of 4.5 million pay TV subscribers in the country. Of these subscribers, VCTV manages around 1.2 million, SCTV has 1.5 million and K+VTV going into joint venture with France’s Canal Plus attracts more than 400,000 satellite TV subscribers.
This means that VTV controls around 70 per cent of the pay TV market share in Vietnam.
“A bona fide competition in the pay TV market is unlikely since VTV has three subsidiaries (VCTV, SCTV and K+) which together control nearly 70 per cent of the market share,” said deputy MIC minister Do Quy Doan.
The VCA report reflects the group of market leaders is expanding their market slice whereas many businesses operating in the field could not survive tough market conditions and had to retreat.
In light of the Competition Law, businesses holding a market monopoly are prohibited from conducting unfair trade acts like imposing buying and selling prices of products and services in an unreasonable manner, or resetting minimum selling prices causing losses to customers.
This means cable TV is also put under management of the Competition Law to avoid hurting the customers.
In reality despite this regulation TV viewers have suffered from constant hikes in cable TV subscribers in the past three years.
Particularly, monthly cable TV subscription fee was VND44,000 ($2) per month in 2009, then it hiked to VND65,000. From May 1, 2011 it reached VND88,000 and a year later from September 1, 2012 it surged to VND110,000 ($5.2) which was almost triple that in 2009.
That was why after nearly a decade of pay TV development, cable television had attracted more than three million subscribers only, with less than 15 per cent of family households using the service.