Television

10 million subscribers, CDM rules pay TV market in China

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MUMBAI: China TV Media (CDM) claims to have notched a 100, 000 subscriber base mark within six months of its launch of its digital pay TV network in China.

An official release issued by the network claims a sweeping 95 per cent market share of China's digital pay-TV market. China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) had given a green signal to proposals for digital pay-TV by five networks last year. CDM was the first one to launch the service on 9 August 2004.

CDM has so far signed contracts with more than 90 cable TV networks across the country with a total of 63.07 million subscribers, among whom some 490,000 are set-top box users.

The CDM network now runs 17 digital pay-TV channels, offering a wide range of programs including movies, music, sports, shopping, education, TV guide and even computer games.

Meanwhile communications provider PCCW has announced plans to set up a broadband pay-television joint venture on the mainland with the telecommunications company China Netcom Group.

The new joint venture will initially operate in larger cities in Netcom Group's home markets in northern China, where most of its current broadband subscribers are based. The group is the dominant operator in Beijing and Tianjin.

China Netcom is hoping to transfer PCCW's experience in broadband television into China to help it restore growth in its broadband operations, where it has seen revenue slip in recent years due to competition. The challenge for China Netcom will be to find ways to boost broadband average revenue per user (ARPU) by selling more value-added services,

Last month China Netcom and PCCW announced a strategic alliance to jointly develop their respective businesses in mainland China and internationally. China Netcom had agreed to pay approximately $1 bn in cash for a 20 per cent stake in PCCW

As a part of their pay TV venture PCCW will procure TV programming security and payment mechanisms, as well as investment in set-top-boxes and may own up to half of the venture when Beijing relaxes regulations in 2007.

However experts say that it will still take time for most of the Chinese television audience to get used to paying for any specific programmes they want to see.

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