Analysts have welcomed Star TV's plans to increase its Chinese-language programming but said the company still needed to provide more funding for local content. Star TV last week announced a drive to produce more Chinese-language movies and series, with a budget of about HK$500 million. The channel said no fixed budget had been determined for the latest drive and more or less than HK$500 million could be spent depending on the quality of projects available. 'It is not accountants that are driving this,' Star TV executive vice-president Steve Askew said from India. 'If the right projects come along we'll spend more.' Mr Askew said there was no fixed target for the number of hours of television content it wished to produce from the latest drive and it would depend on the type of projects available such as films or drama series. The company at present produces about 1,500 hours of Chinese-language content a year, according Mr Askew. Analysts said Star TV still would need to produce more content and that the company would also have difficulty competing with terrestrial broadcaster TVB due to TVB's large library of Chinese content. 'Obviously it is very good news that Star is upping its Chinese content production [but] I would say it would be impossible to overtake TVB as the dominant content provider for the Chinese-speaking world,' said one analyst. However, Mr Askew said much of TVB's content was old and not suitable for Star's audience. 'We own the world's largest library of contemporary Chinese movies,' Mr Askew said. Star TV has produced almost 9,000 hours of original Chinese programming since it was started in 1990. Analysts also believed Star TV would be unable to match the low production costs of TVB, which recruits many of its artists before they are famous and locks them into long-term contracts. 'One of the things TVB does superbly is talent spotting . . . where TVB purchases them and looks after them,' Worldsec International analyst Jean Hydleman said. Competition for the Phoenix channel - in which Star TV has a 45 per cent stake - is set to intensify in the mainland media market after Time Warner announced last week that it had signed a broadcasting agreement with China Entertainment Television (CETV). CETV, which claims to be available in 33 million households, was founded by Singaporean businessman Robert Chua Wah-peng and aims to provide programming that will not offend Beijing, by steering clear of sensitive news topics and avoiding sex and violence on screen.