ATV - Asia Television Limited

Cable TV confident of World Cup profit, despite the cost

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 May, 2006, 12:00am

Cable TV is confident its coverage of June's soccer World Cup will generate a profit even though it has already spent nearly $200 million on programming and promotions.

That figure does not include what the company is paying to secure the exclusive Hong Kong broadcasting rights and its investment in a 3-D sports analytical system that is being used for the first time in Asia for a World Cup event.

Samuel Tsang Chin-cheung, project manager of Cable TV's 2006 FIFA World Cup organising committee, did not disclose these costs, but said advertising slots for the 64 matches were practically fully booked. Negotiations to sell studio game-show and event sponsorships were ongoing, he added.

'There is more scope for these kinds of sponsorship, as sponsors have seen our past World Cup success,' Mr Tsang said. He said World Cup advertising and sponsorship income had seen double-digit growth compared with four years ago.

The company is also hopeful that its coverage of the World Cup finals, being held in Germany, will help it keep existing subscribers and add new customers.

A deal to share broadcasting rights for some of the tournament matches with Hong Kong's two free-to-air broadcasters, TVB and ATV, also was in the final stages, Mr Tsang said.

'A few details still have to be worked out, but we are close to an agreement with TVB and ATV.

'I can't reveal the fee we are charging them but, given the healthy economic recovery over the past four years, an increase would not be entirely unreasonable.'

Cable TV said its programming would cater to all soccer fans, with English commentary available for live matches.

The company is also introducing the Piero 3-D system as part of this year's coverage.

The system, designed by BBC Research and Development and first deployed last year by BBC Sport, allows viewers to track and analyse plays and players in greater detail and from any angle, through using a virtual stadium.