Vietnam tightens grip on pay TV

Vietnam has passed a broad new pay TV decree which will have a significant impact on foreign channels. The decree, which was issued on 18 January 2016, governs the management of information contents, quality, rates, provision and use of radio and television services in Vietnam, as well as the reception of foreign television channels directly from satellites in Vietnam.

The implications of this broad new decree will take some time to digest (particularly for the foreign channels affected). In this post, Eric Lai briefly summarises the key provisions of the decree.

Greater content control

Broadcasters of foreign programs on pay radio and TV services in Vietnam must ensure that their contents are “healthy and appropriate to Vietnamese culture” and do not infringe the country’s press rules. These requirements are not further expanded upon in the decree but the terminology (“healthy and appropriate”) leaves substantial room for interpretation and, one expects, enhanced content control.

Foreign content capped at 30%

The decree imposes a total cap on local content, capping foreign channels at 30% of the total number of channels.


Foreign content must to be edited and translated by a licensed agency, except for live reports of sport matches, opening and closing ceremonies of regional and global sport tournaments. Companies also need to register with the authorities through authorized agents, and fulfil certain financial obligations.

Local advertising

The contents must not contain pre-inserted advertisements from abroad. Advertisements, if any, must be produced in Vietnam, in accordance with local regulations, and subject to edits by authorized local agencies.

Local production

For joint productions, authorized domestic content producers are allowed to select partners incorporated under Vietnam’s laws to collaborate to produce in part or in whole programs or program channels.

With thanks to Eric Lai.

Matt Pollins

Author: Matt Pollins

Matt is an international technology, media and telecoms lawyer and Head of Commercial and TMT at CMS in Singapore. He supports clients across Asia-Pacific. You can contact Matt via the "Contact" page. Views expressed on Connected Asia are those of the author. Nothing here constitutes legal advice or creates a lawyer-client relationship.

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