Asia pacific is digital leader

Asia pacific is still the world’s barometer when it comes to digital media and continues to dominate the market, with Hong Kong leading the way, according to new research.

In its latest report, analyst group Informa Telecoms & Media – parent of – says that the Converging Media (CM) Index published quarterly by the group, reveals the region is home to three of the world’s top-four digital-content markets.

Hong Kong’s CM Index was 38.9 at the end of Q1 2006, up more than 2 points on the market’s end of 2005 figure. The UK took silver position with an index of 32.6, up from 30.5 at the end of Q4 2005.

South Korea grabbed third place in the global rankings with a CM Index of 29.3, though the market really isn’t growing at present, according to the analyst. Japan came in fourth on 28.3, boasting a fast-moving mobile-broadband subscriber base – up 5.5 million in the first quarter of the year for a penetration rate of 27 per cent at the end of March.

Steve Mullins, editor of Informa Telecoms & Media’s Research Service Converging Media told that Hong Kong’s metric is “bolstered by very high levels of fixed broadband and digital-TV penetration”.

Perhaps surprisingly the UK was the only European entrant in the top five rankings and “a large part of that market’s standing is based on the UK’s digital-TV usage” according to Mullins. The UK had 17.6 million subscribers at the end of Q1 2006 but the fixed-broadband customer base is also heading toward maturity with first-quarter growth of 10 per cent pushing the penetration rate to almost 43 per cent.

Finland was Europe’s second-ranked digital nation with a CM Index of 25.4, thanks largely to its 9.9 million digital-TV and 8.5 million fixed-broadband users. Mobile broadband is beginning to take off in that market too, with cellcos reporting more than 130,000 subs at the end of Q1 2006, up 70 per cent on the close of 2005.

Canada is the Americas’ highest-placed digital market, with its CM Index of 27.7 giving it fifth place in the global rankings. The country beats out its southern neighbour, the US in joint-eighth place, by close to 5 points thanks to its fixed-broadband performance – a penetration rate of 57 per cent compared to the US’ 36 per cent.

For a chart showing Global Digital Content Consumption, click here:

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