I-Cable considers 40pc tariff cut to halt viewer switch to Now TV

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 January, 2007, 12:00am

I-Cable Communications, the operator of Cable TV, plans to cut its basic monthly tariff 40 per cent in a move to retain subscribers after losing its right to broadcast English Premier League matches to PCCW's Now TV, sources said.

The cut comes as Now TV starts to raise its minimum monthly tariff 33 per cent this month with further increases later this year to capitalise on the football matches.

Cable TV's exclusive right to broadcast the English Premier League will end in May when all matches this season are completed. The televised matches are Cable TV's most popular programming.

According to a source, Cable TV is offering a HK$10 discount each month for subscribers of the HK$239 package starting from now until the end of May.

The company will then offer a new tariff of HK$139 for a package without the sports channels.

'The HK$139 package will carry all channels including news, movies and entertainment programmes but without 21 sports-related channels,' the source said.

A spokesman for Cable TV said the company would offer discounts to subscribers who wanted to drop the sports channels this summer.

However, he did not give further details.

'The offer varies from subscriber to subscriber, we will offer different packages for retention,' the spokesman said yesterday.

Meanwhile, Now TV has increased its minimum monthly package rate for five channels to HK$184 from the HK$138 it charged last year.

The company will waive a HK$118 broadband line monthly rental fee for subscribers paying more than the minimum tariff.

It is extending its HK$388 package offer for all of its more than 80 channels until the end of this month.

New subscribers to this full package will enjoy full live coverage of the 388 English Premier League matches without additional charges.

Now TV is expected to raise the full package tariff later this year, according to company sources.

The company will carry all English Premier League matches and air some of them through ESPN and Star Sports. Some content will be broadcast on dedicated football channels.

'Existing subscribers of ESPN and Star Sports channel package will need to join a new package later for the full coverage of the league matches,' a company source said.