Network deal aside, Housing Authority looking for a few freebies

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 12:00am

Ricky Wong Wai-kay's Hong Kong Broadband Network is in talks with the Housing Authority about installing its network throughout the government's housing estates, offering telephone, broadband and pay-television services to the masses.

The authority is conducting network tests and a spokesman says details will be confirmed in the next three months.

And the government's interest in television doesn't end there, with the authority spokesman saying the government is also keen to install 40-inch plasma displays in its buildings to broadcast news and information.

However, there is one slight catch.

'We don't want to pay for it,' the spokesman said.

'It will be great if we have panels as we have many business buildings where we can show video content.

'We need a cost-effective solution and we welcome content providers to approach us.'

Mr Wong, are you interested?

A tangled web

Spider-Man is finally about to extend his web to the mainland, with Spider-Man 2 scheduled to hit cinema screens on August 2.

His appearance comes a month later than its global launch after the movie became entangled in a mainland policy directive.

The central government banned the Hollywood blockbuster, and other foreign productions, as part of its policy of boosting local films.

'The government is backing House of Flying Daggers,' said the head of a leading domestic VCD and DVD maker. 'They want to hold off all foreign competitors until the film becomes a hit in China.'

Official VCD and DVD copies of the film will not be on shelves for six months, in another move to swell the movie crowds.

Starring mainland actress Zhang Ziyi and Taiwanese-Japanese heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro, the latest production of award-winning director Zhang Yimou made its mainland debut on Friday. The movie has taken a record 33 million yuan in two days, with screenings sold out nationwide.

A few knives have been thrown in the film's direction on mainland internet message boards, with Zhang being criticised for indulging in high-fashion cinematography at the expense of martial arts mass appeal.

However, that is unlikely to worry the film's producers.

They've made 200 million yuan from distribution in North America and Japan, nearly enough to recoup their 290 million yuan investment in the movie.

Good to be the king

When it comes to advertising, timing can be more important than how much cash you're prepared to splash.

Last Thursday, newspapers reported that the Customs and Excise Department had arrested a 19-year-old form-seven student for selling over the internet MP3 discs of digitally recorded classes at a private tutorial school.

The discs featured lessons by 'Economics King Kevin Ko' and 'English Tutorial King Derek Liu' at King's Glory Education Centre. Each teaches more than 200 classes a week through video conferencing.

On Friday, Ming Pao Daily News, which targets student readers, ran a full-colour, full-page King's Glory advertisement on its front page. That's a lot of follow-up coverage for an estimated cost of a little more than $100,000.

Tied up over cable bundle

Last week, this columnist found herself in the middle of a confusing consumer conundrum, after a salesman for leading pay-television operator Hong Kong Cable Communications offered a monthly package of $179 for a bundled pay-television and broadband service.

A written explanation has finally arrived from the company's senior manager for cable subscription services, Selina Yau.

'Although we are unable to verify your dispute case through either the signed application form or the taped conversation between you and our salesman, we do wish to apologise if there is any misunderstanding caused by the conversation,' Ms Yau wrote.

'It has now been passed on to the relevant department for service review to avoid occurrence of similar incident ... once again, thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.'