Cable Show 2012: Multicultural Viewers Have Appeal -- and Choices

Panelists say if cable doesn't serve diverse audiences, it'll lose them to pirates

Complete Coverage: Cable Show 2012

Boston – Cable companies have more competition for multi-ethnic viewers than satellite TV firms and telco video providers, especially in the fast-growing Asian-American population.

"The fact is, piracy in the South Asian community is huge," Rajan Singh, executive VP, international business, for News Corp.'s Star US subsidiary, said during a multicultural-TV panel session here Tuesday at the Cable Show.

Added Suresh Bala Iyer, CEO of Asia TV USA (distributing Zee Channels and Veria TV), "what's happening in this market is it's 'Napsterizing' to a certain degree."

Channels in Southern Asia have grown fast the last few years, and services selling set-top devices for a one-time fee of $250-$300 that let U.S. residents import live and on-demand TV from India and Pakistan over the Internet have thrived despite legal action taken by legitimate programmers, he said. Customers having paid for the device feel justified in watching the content for free, and having lawyers go after providers such as Jadootv is expensive and ineffective. "It's like swatting mosquitoes on the Amazon," Iyer said.

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