City Telecom hopes to find audience with pay-TV deal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 12:00am

City Telecom plans to enter the pay-television market next month, offering a package of 10 to 12 channels aimed at budget-minded consumers, chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay said.

The new entrant expects to offer the package at less than $100 per month for its soft launch and unveil other packages next year.

Mr Wong said City Telecom was targeting viewers who did not want to pay as much as $250 for comprehensive pay-TV services.

'In no way do we want to compare ourselves to i-Cable, which has spent a few billion dollars in the past decade building their platform,' he said. 'By contrast, we have only committed $1 million per month ... we have seen quite strong demand from users who want to pay much less.'

Although City Telecom has initial plans for 10 to 12 channels - including one self-produced 24-hour news channel - it says it has the capacity to offer up to 200.

'The advantage City Telecom has over TVB's Galaxy is capacity and extensive in-building wiring, without which Galaxy may have an access problem,' CLSA analyst Charle Peza said.

Galaxy is due to launch its pay-TV service in November,

The entry of the City Telecom and Galaxy is expected to put pressure on dominant i-Cable Communications to reduce its monthly tariff of $298 per month.

Analysts note i-Cable has been charging about $300 a month for a package of 60 channels.