Galaxy serves up 24-hour news

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 12:00am

Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting, the troubled pay-television service run by Television Broadcasts, is launching a 24-hour news channel to cater for mainland immigrants and regular cross-border visitors.

The channel, to begin airing on Monday, will feature news from seven mainland provinces and cities - Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Hubei, Shaanxi and Zhejiang.

As well as being available to Galaxy's 30,000 subscribers, the broadcaster will introduce commercial packages for hotels and serviced apartments.

'The price will be lower than i-Cable [Communications'] commercial packages,' chief operating officer Jackey Chan Sek-nin said. 'The mainland news channel is only a beginning and it lies at the foundation of our future co-operation with local broadcasters.'

Galaxy plans to expand its coverage by delivering its service over Hutchison Global Communications' cable network. It is awaiting government approval.

The company also plans to expand in the mainland by providing content to cable networks.

Mr Chan said Galaxy expected to sell drama and variety shows 'very soon' to mainland broadcasters. 'We don't rule out the possibility of the whole channel going out on local cable systems in future.'

TVB has not received significant revenue from the mainland despite the broadcaster being granted rights last year to air the Jade channel in the Pearl River Delta area.

Meanwhile, TVB said it was making 'good progress' in the search for an investor to take up the 51 per cent stake in Galaxy previously owned by Intelsat of the United States, which quit the loss-making venture in September last year.

Under a government waiver granted in December allowing TVB to assume control of Galaxy, the broadcaster has until the end of the year to find another partner.