Wednesday, February 21, 2024

HK’s i-CABLE Pulls Plug on Pay-TV to Focus on Free and Multimedia Channels

Hong Kong’s i-CABLE Communications Limited, together with its subsidiaries and consolidated structured entities, has been granted government approval to surrender its Domestic Pay Television Programme Service Licence.

Citing “the rapidly changing media landscape in Hong Kong and fierce competition among the global paid TV content providers and pay TV operators”, the company says it will be increasing investment in free TV channels and its multimedia business to “capitalise on the opportunities from the structural change of the local media market”. The company will also “construct an open media platform for Hong Kong’s public”.

Mr. TSANG On Yip, Patrick, Vice-chairman and Executive Director, i-CABLE Communications Limited said, “The continuous strategic transformation of i-CABLE will enhance the resources efficiency of our media business to take on the new opportunities arising from the structural changes in local free TV market in recent year and eventually, create new value for i-CABLE.”

Following surrender of its Pay TV Licence, the Group will continue to provide free tv programme services and other businesses as usual, including broadband telecommunications services, telephony services, network construction and mobile services.

CABLE TV expects to terminate its pay TV broadcast on 1 June, 2023. CABLE TV will handle the arrangements of existing subscribers’ Pay TV service and related matters as appropriate. CABLE TV will use its best endeavour to ensure customers can continue to enjoy watching both pay TV and free TV channels before the Pay TV licence is surrendered. After the surrender of the Pay TV licence, CABLE TV will continue to take measures to ensure the reception of the existing free TV channels by the public is unaffected.

Customers may choose to keep their existing TV set-top box and accessories, CABLE TV will provide guidance and recommendations regarding on their handling. For those vulnerable groups such as the elderly, CABLE TV will take steps to provide direct assistance. CABLE TV will also set up collection points for customers who wish to return the TV set-top boxes and their accessories for recycling purposes.

In the lead up to termination of the pay TV service, CABLE TV will make available 10 premium channels, including entertainment, movies, kids and documentary genres, to all residential pay TV customers.

Expanding Free Channels while Strengthening Multimedia Business

In the past two years, the Company has been committed to reform the business by expanding its free TV channels business and strengthening multimedia business strongly, which laid a solid foundation for future development, including:

1. Improved free TV spectrum coverage so that its free TV programme service is now available for reception by not less than 99% of the population of Hong Kong.

2. Established differentiation between HOY TV (Channel 77) and HOY Infotainment (Channel 78), respectively covering entertainment programmes and news reportage for the public.

3. HOY TV (Channel 77) has been rebranded with new programmes arrangement providing more variety and enhanced entertainment content.

4. Launched a new free TV channel HOY Infotainment (Channel 78) which provides local news, global finance, sports and infotainment programmes. A 4000 square-meter brand new studio located in New World Tower, Central which has recently commenced operation, together with the studio located in Tsuen Wan, to enhance production capabilities.

5. Revamped the websites of i-CABLE and HOY TV.  The company recorded monthly active users of 1.67 million and 187,000 on its i-cable.com and hoy.tv websites, respectively, in December 2022, representing year-on-year growth of 203% and 80% respectively. i-CABLE also recorded over ONE million followers on the Group’s social platforms.

Production

The Group says it will continue to strengthen free TV content offered to audiences, and aim to seek suitable opportunities for international cooperation, as well as to commence production of new television series. The Group will further provide online-to-offline (O2O) content promotion solutions. The Group says it intends to leverage developing viewing habits and continue to optimise content delivery over the internet.

In October 2022, the Company has secured the exclusive Hong Kong broadcast rights of “The 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022”. postponed due to COVID, the games will take place from September 23 to October 8, 2023.

i-CABLE News

As the first Hong Kong-based 24-hour TV news channel, i-CABLE will continue to develop the “i-CABLE News” brand, providing news content to its three free TV channels – Hong Kong International Business Channel (Channel 76), HOY TV (Channel 77) and HOY Infotainment Channel (Channel 78). The i-CABLE News team will also create an omnichannel, one-stop media platform to live stream press conferences and major events in the city.

i-CABLE News will also produce new content. In addition to programmes such as “City Focus”, “Let’s Talk” and “Money and Wisdom”, “World Living” and “Anchor Focus” Season 2 will be released during Q2 2023. Moreover, new programmes will also be rolled out gradually, such as “領航之星” (Pilot Star), a talk show in Mandarin interviewing corporate executives in mainland China, “Closer Look”, an in-depth English news programme, and “家家有求” (Every Family Needs), which will focus on fixing interior design problems.

Horseracing Channel 18

i-Cable says it will “evolve” horseracing channel to multimedia platforms and explore live streaming horse racing on social media platforms, the “Racing GPS” mobile app and other channels. “Racing GPS” will continue to increase horse racing programmes to cater for the demand of current and new customers.

Visit https://csweb.cabletv.com.hk and http://www.i-cablecomm.com/

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