Must-see TV will provide edge in triple play

PUBLISHED : Monday, 13 June, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 13 June, 2005, 12:00am

With internet telephony licensing just around the corner, the telecommunications industry is preparing for a fully-fledged 'triple play' of voice, television and internet services, available over a broadband pipe and - ideally - on a single bill.

In the United States, cable operators have been the dominant triple-play competitors.

European telecoms operators have been quickly deploying TV over their fibre networks to complete the pay-TV leg of the triple-play model.

In Hong Kong, the incumbent operators appear to believe two out of three ain't bad.

PCCW bundles television and broadband together but not voice, while i-Cable Communications packages voice and internet together, but not with television.

One local analyst doubted whether the triple-play bundling model would in itself be enticing enough to attract additional subscribers for operators.

He said this was because, ultimately, it was all about the content.

Sure, an operator might price its three services low, but without a compelling TV package subscribers were unlikely to follow, he said.

His reasoning is simple: city dwellers have limited time to watch TV. Convincing them to buy paid channels under these circumstances is tough, and 'must-see TV' - not price - is the differentiating factor.

Meanwhile, all eyes are on SuperSun TV, the relaunched pay-TV brand of Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting.

It will reportedly feature six exclusive TVB channels, and Earful hears that the broadcaster's 'oldies' dramas are stirring quite a lot of interest, especially among those who grew up watching them during the late 1970s and 1980s.

To prepare for the new competition, Hong Kong Broadband has added eight movie channels to its digital TV offering. With the triple-play battle growing more intense, the question now is which operator has the right content arsenal to win.