i-CABLE to exit pay-TV business
February 15, 2023
By Colin Mann
Hong Kong multiplay operator i-CABLE Communications has announced that, in view of the rapidly changing media landscape in Hong Kong and fierce competition among the global paid TV content providers and pay-TV operators, Hong Kong Cable Television Limited (CABLE TV), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, has submitted an application for the surrender of the Domestic Pay Television Programme Service Licence (Pay TV Licence) to the Government and has been granted such approval.
The Group will continue to drive for strategic transformation by increasing investment on free TV channels and multimedia business to capitalise on the opportunities from the structural change of the local media market. The Group is also committed to focus its resources on media business more effectively, to enhance the quality, competitiveness and influence of its free TV channels and multimedia services as well as to construct an open media platform for Hong Kong’s public
After CABLE TV surrendered the 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’s talents and resources can be more flexibly utilised and invested in the aforementioned business developments,” it states.
CABLE TV expects to terminate its pay TV broadcast on June 1st, 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.
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:
- Improved free TV spectrum coverage so that our free TV programme service is now available for reception by not less than 99 per cent of the population of Hong Kong.
- Established differentiation between HOY TV (Channel 77) and HOY Infotainment (Channel 78), respectively covering entertainment programmes and news reportage for the public.
- HOY TV (Channel 77) has been rebranded with new programmes arrangement providing more variety and enhanced entertainment content.
- Launched a new free TV channel HOY Infotainment (Channel 78) which provides local news, global finance, sports and infotainment programmes. A 4,000 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.
- Revamped the websites of i-CABLE and HOY TV and recorded an outstanding result in multimedia business. It recorded monthly active users of 1.67 million and 187,000 on its i-cable.com and hoy.tv websites in December 2022, representing year-on-year growth of 203 per cent and 80 per cent respectively. i-CABLE also recorded over one million followers on the Group’s social platforms.
The Group 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 intends to leverage developing viewing habits and continue to optimise content delivery over the internet. The Group will continue investing in its multimedia business.
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. As always, we will fully support the business development of i-CABLE and work with all staff side by side to bring our businesses to the next level. I hereby would like to thank you all CABLE TV customers for their continuous support in the past years and look forward to having all your support in our free TV channels, which are Hong Kong International Business Channel (Channel 76), HOY TV (Channel 77) and HOY Infotainment Channel (Channel 78), to continue CABLE TV’s spirit in providing quality TV programmes to Hong Kong people.”