CABLE TV has stitched up first-run rights with three of Hollywood's biggest studios to help win the hearts and eyes of Hong Kong viewers on its Cineplex Channel. Walt Disney, MGM and Turner's New Line studios yesterday signed master contracts with Wharf Cable outlining a revenue sharing agreement. 'This is not library material; this is first run,' Wharf Cable managing director Stephen Ng said. Walt Disney studios makes about 20 to 30 movies per year, MGM from 17 to 20 and New Line about 25. There will be multiple screenings of these movies for a 60-day period on two of the four 'houses' catered for by the two-month-old Cineplex channel before being screened on satellite and Pay TV services. 'We are buying an exclusive pay-for-view window in Hong Kong so that there will be no preclusion by a satellite broadcaster either intentionally or accidentally,' Mr Ng said. Wharf Cable also has deals with independent producers which are not profit sharing agreements and where screenings on Cineplex may precede local theatre screenings. Mr Ng said that pay-for-view services in the United States had a 20 to 25 per cent buy rate. 'In the first few weeks of existence we have significantly outperformed that,' Mr Ng said. He predicts this level will rise significantly with the new programming material. MGM/UA Telecommunications Group president Gary Marenzi said the arrangement will not 'cannibalise' the video market but will supplement video revenue. 'It's really an extension of the box office. The whole city's going to be wired within a few years,' he said. Anyone with a television could then subscribe by phoning a Cineplex hotline and paying about $20 to $25 per movie. Wharf Cable TV aims to wire more than 95 per cent of the territory's 1.8 million homes by the end of 1995 in readiness for the end of Wharf's exclusive cable licence on June 30, 1996. Mr Marenzi is expecting quick returns and predicts a buy rate of about five to 10 per cent of subscribers per movie. He said that Telecom's video on demand (VOD) service set to be up and running by the end of next year would be dealt with when it was launched. 'Telecom is going to be doing an experiment. We may even do that with them but this is commercial, this is real.'