Hong Kong -- The market's top-ranked Chinese-language
broadcaster, Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB), is expanding its reach overseas with the
launch of three satellite-broadcasting platforms aimed at attracting Chinese subscribers
across the globe.
The platforms, two of which are based in Hong Kong and one
in Los Angeles, will both increase the exposure for TVB's channels and provide a home
to newly created Chinese-language networks, sources said. The new platforms will cover
Asia, Australia and the United States.
TVB, the world's largest producer of Chinese-language
television, is the dominant force in Hong Kong, capturing more than a 60 percent share of
its home -TV market. In addition to its two terrestrial channels in Hong Kong, TVB has
three overseas channels -- TVB Superchannel, TVBS News and TVBS Golden, which is primarily
dedicated to Taiwan.
By switching its mostly analog network to digital and
increasing capacity, the new platforms are expected to increase TVB's competitiveness
when it is under increasing pressure at home.
Encouraged by new regulations that allow new companies to
offer multichannel services in Hong Kong, Asian program platform Star TV and telco Cable
& Wireless HKT are partnering on channels for a new Hong Kong platform, said Paul
Budde, a principal in Australia-based telecoms and broadcasting analysis firm Paul Budde
Budde said some of TVB's off-shore dealings --
including a subsidiary it formed in Australia in 1999 -- were not as successful as the
company had hoped, and that the launch of the new platforms, planned for June, will expand
the company's international reach.
"Hopefully, [it] will help boost confidence from both
employees and investors," he said. Officials at TVB couldn't be reached to
comment on the project.
For its systems integrator, TVB has tapped Mindport
Solutions, in conjunction with Ideal Systems Asia Pacific. Mindport is the technology
subsidiary of MIH Ltd.
Mindport, in turn, appointed its corporate sibling, OpenTV
Corp. to develop applications and Taiwan-based Advanced Broadcast to supply set-top boxes.
According to the agreement, Mindport will also supply TVB with its Irdeto
conditional-access system and its IBS subscriber-management service.
Advanced Broadcast has been providing equipment and
technology to TVB for several years.
"TVB is an old acquaintance," said Advanced
Broadcast president and CEO Andrew Ribicky. "Our relationship dates a long way
The platform will use OpenTV's interactive set-top
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