The influx of new pay-television operators could bite 5 per cent out of i-Cable Communications' profit margin. I-Cable president and chief executive Stephen Ng Tin-hoi said increased competition in the industry would put pressure on manpower and programming costs. 'There will definitely be pressure, but I do not think it will be anything we cannot tackle,' said Mr Ng. He expected his programming costs to rise by 10 per cent during the next few years. This is made up of the cost of TV programmes and staff salaries which overall accounts for half i-Cable's operating costs. The rise would wipe off about 5 per cent of the pay-TV operator's profit margin, he said. Competition for staff will heat up with the five new pay-TV licence winners looking to add about 1,000 new jobs in the industry during the coming two years. I-Cable has seen a high staff turnover rate of 15 per cent in the first half of the year. However, Mr Ng said the pressure would ease once the new operators had finished recruiting. 'In fact, we managed to have a lower unit cost for staff expenses in the first half of this year because some of the jobs which fell vacant were filled by lower-cost workers of lower seniority or ranking,' he said. He admitted the new players would take some of i-Cable's market share too. 'The new competitors will definitely capture some of our market share, but the pie will grow,' he said pointing out a loss in market share would be compensated by an increase in the number of subscribers. I-Cable was aiming at adding 50,000 subscribers a year, Mr Ng said. In the first six months of this year, revenue increased by about 15 per cent and the company signed up 29,000 new subscribers. Mr Ng was confident of achieving 20 per cent revenue growth for the full year, and was expecting the company to be in the black by end of the year. Additional revenue from i-Cable's broadband Internet services would also boost sales growth, he added. I-Cable reported a turnover of HK$1.34 billion for the year to last December 31, but this translated into a net loss of HK$387.24 million.