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PCCW Media reports lower half year video numbers, higher OTT numbers

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BENGALURU: Hong Kong based telecommunications, media, IT solutions, property development and investment and other businesses group PCCW Limited reported lower numbers for its video operations comprising of NowTV and improved revenue for its ViuTV and its OTT operations for the half year ended 30 June 2017 (H1-17) as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. Overall, on a consolidated basis, the group?s revenue and operating profits were stable during the current year period as compared to the corresponding year ago period.

For NowTV, the company reported a stable subscriber base of about 1.3 million and lower average revenue per user (ARPU) of HK$186 in H1-17. The company has mentioned ARPU of HK$ 194 for H1-16 and HK$192 for H2-16. Consequently, revenue in the current quarter declined 3 percent to HK$ 1,350 million from HK$ 1,391 million in the corresponding period of last year (H1-16) and from HK$ 1509 million in the immediate trailing half year period (H2-16).

NowTV EBIDTA was HK$ 154 million, HK$ 184 million and HK$ 229 million for H1-17, H1-16 and H2-16 respectively.

For its Free TV business - ViuTV, the company reported revenue in H1-17 of HK$94 million as compared to HK$ 52 million in H1-17, but lower than the HK$ 108 million for H2-17. ViuTV had a higher operating loss (negative EBIDTA) for H1-17 at HK$ 116 million as compared to HK$ 68 million in H1-16 and HK$ 115 million in H2-16.

OTT services revenue increased 24 percent to HK$ 337 million in H1-17 as compared to HK$ 227 million in H1-16 and HK$ 312 million in H2-16. OTT services reported a higher operating loss (negative EBIDTA) of HK$ 125 million in H1-17 as compared to HK$ 109 million in H1-16 and slightly lower than an operating loss of HK$ 126 million in H2-16.

Overall, PCCW Limited core revenue decreased by 5 percent to HK$ 17,576 million due to a slowdown in Mobile handset sales at HKT. Excluding Mobile handset sales, core revenue was steady at HK$ 16,549 million. The Solutions and over-the-top (OTT) businesses showed continued growth momentum with their revenues increasing by 6 percent and 24 percent, respectively, for the six months ended June 30, 2017, compared to a year ago

PCCW Group managing director BG Srinivas said the Group's strategy was to continue to develop and maintain our leadership in the relevant markets of each of our core businesses of IT solutions, media, and telecommunications, while seeking new growth opportunities.

He said, "With an excellent track record in large-scale IT projects and a global data centre network alliance, PCCW Solutions will continue to benefit from the needs of enterprises and the public sector to go digital. The significant recurring nature of its business and the expanding demand for digital transformation capabilities should lead to a growing contribution from PCCW Solutions."

"Now TV has consolidated its market leadership in the pay TV industry in Hong Kong while ViuTV has broadened our reach into the TV advertising market. Although the environment in the media industry in Hong Kong has been very dynamic in the past year, we expect the competitive behavior to rationalize and lead to improved profitability. The OTT business has extended our geographic scope beyond Hong Kong and we now have a presence in 24 markets. Our goal is to build the leading digital media service in Asia with the best viewing experience and most relevant content," added Srinivas.

PCCW raises US$ 110million for video and music streaming

In a press release, PCCW says that it has raised US$110 million to expand its penetration in its existing markets as well as to expand to other high growth markets its range of video and music streaming services. Hony Capital, Foxconn Ventures and Singapore sovereign fund Temasek have taken an 18 percent share in the enlarged issued share capital of PCCW OTT. PCCW Media will remain as the controlling shareholder of PCCW OTT. PCCW OTT is present in over in 24 markets globally. Its services include video streaming services under the Viu and Vuclip brands along with a music streaming service MOOV.

The company says that this strategic investment will strengthen PCCW OTT's ability to enhance its core value proposition of relevant content including distinctive original productions, and to continue to deploy the latest technologies and leverage its patents in video streaming and encoding to offer the best customer experience.

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