With the industry undergoing evolutionary change, there is a need for its practitioners to hone their multimedia skills, according to Conrad Chiu, the chief executive of advertising agency BatesAsia Hong Kong. The industry veteran believes convergence of media services is the way of the future, but the greatest challenge will be finding enough talented personnel. BatesAsia has gone some way to meeting that challenge by buying a 75 per cent stake in local public relations firm Beyond Communications. 'We made the acquisition because we wanted the talent,' Mr Chiu said, adding that the move would also transform BatesAsia from a traditional creative agency to a total media service solution provider. 'We are a traditional advertising agency, but we need a change. We have a creative team with interactive marketing and event marketing services. By acquiring Beyond, we are extending into media relations,' said Mr Chiu. Beyond Communications chief executive Dawn Chan, who will retain a 25 per cent share in the firm she founded in 1995, said in the integrated media world, media agents would no longer concentrate on a single field of business. She said both firms would work under the same umbrella, pitching to clients on a broader field. Beyond Communications is focused on media relations and event marketing. Fast-food chain Cafe de Coral appointed the firm to launch its latest marketing campaign and, together with BatesAsia, they will promote a customer retention programme. video fees ruled offside Mobile operators that have refused to pay what they consider an unreasonably high price for Fifa World Cup rights say content providers should not overestimate demand for phone video services. In Hong Kong, where mobile operators secure various television rights to enhance their 3G service offerings, football is a popular attraction. The English Premier League attracts more than 10,000 out of 500,000 Hutchison Hong Kong 3G users to watch highlights on their handsets. However, football fans who want to watch match highlights of the World Cup tournament, which kicks off on Friday, are likely to be disappointed. Hong Kong operators have declined to pay the $1 million fee to Switzerland-based rights holder Infront Sports and Media for delayed match highlights during the month-long event. Senior executives from Hong Kong's four 3G operators - Australian telecommunications giant Telstra Corp's Hong Kong CSL, Hutchison Whampoa's Hutchison Telecom International, Sun Hung Kai Properties' SmarTone-Vodafone and PCCW Mobile - had originally tried to buy the rates collectively and share the cost. 'However, we finally abandoned the plan on business grounds,' said a senior executive of a 3G operator, adding that they did not think the service would generate sufficient revenue or attract enough new users to cover the cost. One industry source agreed, saying the rights holder had wrongly judged demand for such a service in Hong Kong. 'As football fans can watch the matches live on television, despite the time difference between Hong Kong and Germany, demand for the service is limited. It is not justified to pay $1 million for a four-week event with no enhancement to our revenue or user base,' he said.