THE Chinese Channel (CC), Europe's fledgling Chinese-language satellite television station, has started encrypting its service. It will now be able to collect subscription fees of GBP13.99 (about HK$155) per month and is providing the necessary decoder and an 'access key' free of charge. CC also recently signed deals with stations in Beijing and Shanghai to exchange programming. Since its launch in March last year, CC has been free-to-air, broadcasting across continental Europe to a potential audience of one million Chinese in about 250,000 households. Darren Shaw, a CC director, said: 'Many ethnic Chinese in Europe cannot speak the local languages, but they spend freely on videos for entertainment and on Chinese publications for news.' He said market research showed between 30,000 and 50,000 homes tuned into CC but he was confident of much greater penetration. Advertising and marketing campaigns were being prepared for a Lunar New Year blitz. CC broadcasts from midnight to 5 a.m. each day, which is effectively prime time for a customer base predominantly linked to the restaurant trade. Mr Shaw said that from February 1, CC would start earlier each evening and, by mid-1996, should be on air for between eight hours and 12 hours a day. Its programming is a mixture of TVB feature films, entertainment shows and the China-focused Daily World News and European Chinese Community News. The hard news programme uses the raw satellite news feed from Reuter to TVB. The community news is more magazine style. The British-listed Pacific Media owns 80 per cent of the channel. Hong Kong's Shaw Media Corporation, run by brothers Darren and Marcus Shaw, owns the balance. Advertisers include Virgin, Hutchison Telecom's Orange network and Lee Kum Kee sauces. Mr Shaw said he anticipated the channel would move into operating profit early next year and begin offsetting the GBP10 million start up costs.