Now TV taps into apps to boost users
More than 660,000 mobile device users have downloaded the Now Player and Now News apps, as PCCW's 24-hour pay-TV service provider, Now TV, seeks to enlarge its pool of users in Hong Kong.
'The growth speed was faster than we expected,' PCCW's managing director for TV and new media, Janice Lee, said.
Lee said the apps, which were launched earlier this year, were free for the moment, but the company might consider charging a fee in the longer term.
Half of Hong Kong's total of 2.3 million households already used Now TV, Lee said, and the proliferation of tablets and smartphones in the city showed the potential for the service to attract new subscribers.
'There are eight million people living in Hong Kong, and those who use our apps may start subscribing to the pay service,' she said.
Now TV teamed up with Hunan Satellite TV to launch a Hong Kong channel called Now Mango.
It also has a joint venture with the Beijing-based TV series producer Hairun Media and Entertainment, and launched a Hairun channel in Hong Kong in January.
The channel offers a 24-hour menu of drama programmes produced by Hairun but edited and packaged by Now TV to suit Hong Kong tastes, the company said.
Now TV said it was in discussion with local partners to expand overseas distribution of Chinese TV dramas.
'We hope the first deals can be closed this year,' Lee said.
She said the company was also interested in Southeast Asia, and countries with large Chinese communities, including the United States, Canada and Australia.
HK Television and Entertainment, which is owned by PCCW Interactive Media Holdings, a broadband and cable television provider, applied for a licence to run a free-to-air television service in 2010 but is still waiting for approval.
'The process is taking longer than we thought but we're confident that we'll receive the licence,' Lee said.
'We're preparing high-quality programmes for our Hong Kong audience.'