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Industry forum discusses key digital trends in Asia Pacific

The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific) 4th Digital Media Conference held this year in Singapore, over 200 leading experts from media and technology companies from Asia Pacific and the US came together to discuss the continuing evolution of TV and how it affects the way they look at the businesses and consumers. This year's theme "Media R-Evolution: Engaging the Connected Consumer" focuses on what forward-looking media companies are doing to stay engaged with their audiences and address questions fundamental to creating value and launching the next generation entertainment marketplace. Today's audiences not only expect flexibility in when to watch their favorite TV show, movie or latest sports news, but also access to that content on the platform of their choice whether at home or on-the-go.

"Audience viewing habits have dramatically changed - never before has TV viewing been so personal" said Rob Gilby, Managing Director, Media Distribution, The Walt Disney Company (Asia Pacific) Limited. "Our research tells us that there is a complete shift in consumer expectations and audiences are looking for greater personalization and customization of how they access brands such as Disney, ABC and ESPN. The question we are asking is how to create the most value in delivering the best consumer experience."

What's your Screen of Choice?

Asia Pacific is home to over 135 million smartphones, 350 million 3G+ Subscribers, 968 million TV sets, 6.5 million tablets, 800 million internet users and 143 million Facebook Users.

A wide scale industry study conducted last year shows that using multiple devices to watch video content is on the rise in Asia Pacific. While the majority of people still watch video content on TV (77%), 63% are watching on a desktop/laptop computer, 38% are watching content on mobile phones and 19% on other hand held devices.

The region's access to digital technology coupled with increased consumption of content on multiple platforms is a great opportunity to provide consumers the best entertainment experience on the screen of their choice.

"We are seeing the continued evolution of television with a rapid uptake from consumers who want multiple ways across multiple screens to connect and engage with their favorite content," says Gilby.

Whilst viewing content on multiple screens is growing, the use of social media to complement the viewing experience is adding new dimensions to the concept of co-viewing. No longer do viewers have to watch TV in the same room to share the experience. Social media provides a platform for viewers to share opinions and commentary about their viewing experience with peers, family and friends on digital platforms and in virtual communities.

This further deepens the consumer experience, providing multiple touch points for consumers to interact with their favorite content, stories and characters.

Primetime is all the Time

Consumers are no longer confined to a scheduled viewing time. Digital platforms and devices offer flexibility for consumers to watch TV whenever they want. This is especially appealing to time-poor and younger consumers who require more flexibility in their free time, preferring to watch TV at a time that suits their lifestyle.

In 2010 Disney did four major deals in Asia Pacific, including India and Indonesia- home to 2 of the top 5 populations in the world - to distribute content to mobile phones, through online and video-on-demand with traditional terrestrial and pay-TV.

"Technology is a natural part of consumer's lives and all these digital devices that exist today and the ones we haven't yet seen are opportunities for us to deepen our relationship with the viewer. At Disney, incredible content and innovation go hand and hand and we are focused on finding new ways to take our compelling programming to more audience while enhancing the TV viewing experience," said Raju Venkataraman, Vice President, Media Distribution, The Walt Disney Company, India.

In India, Disney Media Distribution (DMD) announced a deal last year with Sun TV for channel distribution of Disney Channel, Disney XD and Hungama TV, across multiple platforms including Cable TV, Direct-to-Home (DTH) and IP-TV. In addition, the company had a landmark deal with Apalya, making kids' and families' favorite Disney Channel & Disney XD shows available on India's largest mobile content platform. DMD is also making its features available on DTH (direct to home) platforms on a pay per view basis

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